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Eye On Boise

Debate: ‘Another voice,’ ‘Gun to our head,’ ‘In fact an abortion’

More from the Senate's debate on the governor's insurance exchange bill, now stretching toward the end of its third hour:

Sen. Les Bock, D-Boise, said, “I want this state and I want this country to know that in the state of Idaho there is another voice, and that voice is a voice in support of Obamacare, in support of our president. This bill, the Obamacare Affordable Health Care Act, may not have been the best possible solution, but it was the one solution that was possible.” Bock said, “I would have loved to see a single-payer system, but we didn’t get that. We got what was possible. … It is a credit to the president, it is a credit to this nation that we have actively tried to find solutions for people in the middle class or poor who could not otherwise get health care. So I’m here to tell you as another voice, I support my president, I support Obamacare.”

Sen. Chuck Winder, R-Boise, said he respects Gov. Butch Otter’s efforts. “I think it is a sincere opinion. I just happen to disagree with it,” Winder said. “I feel like we have a gun to our head – if you don’t do something, we’re going to do something to you that may even be worse. … This isn't about just an exchange or access to the market, this is about a whole bunch of other stuff.” He said, “They're using threats against our businesses, that if you don't support a state exchange, you're going to lose your right to be a vendor and provide services.” Winder said, “We're getting on a ship that's got so many big holes in it. … We have worked so hard for the past five years to keep our state financially sound and prepared for the future. … We run the risk of our state going down and being part of that ship.” He said, “My heart tells me it isn't right.”

Sen. Sheryl Nuxoll, R-Cottonwood, said, “I understand that most of us do not like the Affordable Care Act, most of us, anyhow. … I've been concerned about the state insurance exchange and the abortifacient issue. .. Under Obamacare there's a mandate for health insurance to cover contraception including Ella and Plan B. … I asked the Attorney General for his opinion, and the general consensus from the Attorney General and the pro-life groups … is that the abortion opt-out language … will only protect surgical abortion and RU486. … So in other words, the opinion states that our insurance companies … would be required to provide for Plan B and Ella. Plan B and Ella are potential abortifacients. … But because the woman is not known to be pregnant when she takes this emergency contraception, an abortion could not be definitively proven.” She said, “This is preventing implementation of the fertilized egg which is in fact an abortion … causing the death of a newly conceived human child.”

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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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