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Eye On Boise

Back to the debate on exchange bill…

The Senate is now back to debate on SB 1042. Sen. John Goedde, R-Coeur d’Alene, said, “If we opt for a federal exchange, there’s only two choices. … They only have to provide two, and you can bet your bottom dollar neither one of those two will be an Idaho company.” Goedde, who disclosed for the record that he’s a licensed insurance agent, said, “We’re not here to debate Obamacare. We’re here to debate exchanges.” He said when Idaho joined other states to challenge the national health care law in the U.S. Supreme Court, “That was our best chance. … And guess what? We lost.” Goedde compared the argument that other states are refusing to set up exchanges to when, as a child, he used the “everyone else is doing it” argument with his parents; his father just passed away this week. “My father couldn’t swim, so appreciate the significance of what he told me,” he said, his voice breaking. “He said, ‘If everyone went and jumped in the lake, would you follow them?’” Goedde said he admires Gov. Butch Otter “for taking a stand and staying dry.”

Sen. Branden Durst, D-Boise, told the Senate, “This bill isn't perfect. … It is my view that we have a responsibility as senators to protect the consumer at all costs. … I feel as if we've missed that boat … becuase this bill lacks legislative oversight. And with all due respect to our friends across the rotunda, the trailer bill that's coming doesn't fix it either.”

The debate has now stretched for well over four hours.

Sen. Steve Vick, R-Dalton Gardens, said, “We’ve been told here today that if we don’t have a state exchange, we cede our authority to the federal government, and we don’t want to go there. … I say whether we pass a state exchange or we don’t pass a state exchange, we have ceded our authority to the federal government.” He said, “We don’t really know what we’re doing. … There are many things that we do not know. … When they can’t convince you with the facts, they convince you with urgency. I’m voting to wait. I’m voting no.”

Sen. Todd Lakey, R-Nampa, said, “I don’t apologize for my strong feelings on this issue. … I don’t like the way it was pushed through, I think it’s bad policy and a bad decision. … But again, we’re not debating Obamacare today.” He said the vast majority of the businesses in his district support a state exchange, not a federal one, noting that participation would be voluntary and it would receive no state funds. “Ultimately for me this is about dealing with reality,” Lakey said, saying there’s a “strong desire to not be a choiceless victim.” He said, “The federal government does not operate programs that are more responsive to the citizens of Idaho. To me, the worst option is the federal exchange.”

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Betsy Z. Russell covers Idaho news from The Spokesman-Review's bureau in Boise.

Named best state-based political blog in Idaho for 2013 by The Fix

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