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Debate: ‘Every difference of opinion is not a difference of principle,’ ‘Room for shenanigans’

More from the Senate debate on SB 1042, the insurance exchange bill:

Sen. Bart Davis, R-Idaho Falls, said, “Thomas Jefferson said every difference of opinion is not a difference of principle. … To those opposed to the bill, principally I agree with you, but there are other factors that guide me personally to a different conclusion.” Davis said he opposed the national health care reform law. “This expansion of federal powers is inconsistent with what I believe are correct constitutional principles,” he said. “I also worked and hoped for a new president and Congress to repeal what I believed to be a dreadful law. Well, that did not happen.” He said, “If Idaho does nothing, federal regulators will exclusively build Idaho’s health care system. I worry what federally imposed insurance rates will be.”

Sen. Russ Fulcher, R-Meridian, told the Senate, “Supporters of SB 1042 have indicated that they want to resist Obamacare. So have I. … In my opinion, what that says is we’re going to resist by complying, or we’re going to resist by doing what they tell us to do. I would suggest a different path. I oppose the exchange because it is the implementation of this,” he said, holding up a thick binder. “This is the Affordable Care Act. And there are ramifications for voluntarily complying with this bill, and taking the money to voluntarily comply.” Fulcher said he thought the state would be in better legal position to challenge the law if it resists it, and said he believes there’s “room for shenanigans” with people’s personal medical information. “We’re giving up legislative oversight here, and we’re giving up that oversight to some quasi-governmental board,” he said. “I fear that we’re going to pass this bill, and we’re going to rationalize it by trying to convince ourselves that something worse is going to happen if we don’t.”

Sen. Cliff Bayer, R-Boise, said, “I’ve heard far more conjecture and opinion than fact.” He called that poor lawmaking. He disputed statements from backers of the bill that doing nothing is a vote for a federal exchange. “If there was an act or … a violation that is inevitable upon my neighbor and I am not willing to conduct that act or facilitate it or implement it, that does not mean that I condone others conducting that act or violation,” Bayer said. “I don’t think that that is a fair analogy whatsoever.” He said, “I believe that the process has to hit the reset button.”


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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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