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Eye On Boise

House exchange debate: ‘Rather work with our local state people,’ ‘Hogwash’

After nearly two hours of questions to the sponsor and a move to amend the bill, House members have begun debating the governor’s health insurance exchange legislation. First was Rep. Dell Raybould, R-Rexburg, who noted that Rep. Fred Wood, R-Burley, referred to Idaho’s history with wolves.

“I think that was a good example,” Raybould said. “Ever since we denied management of those wolves, we have tried to get it back. … Look how many years it’s taken us to get management of the wolves back. … Nobody in this body dislikes the Affordable Care Act more than I do, but I’ve known from working with DEQ that I’d rather work with our local state people that I would have to go to Seattle and ask them whether I can run this ditch full of water or how something needed to be taken care of. … It takes years, not a month or two, to get any kind of a decision from them, let alone direction.” He said, “I for one am not willing, if I can possibly help it, to turn this size of an enterprise that’s going to affect every single person in this state over to a federal agency, that if I have a problem with ‘em I can’t get it straightened out for a year or two.”

House Majority Leader Mike Moyle, R-Star, spoke out against the bill, saying he wanted to add a slew of amendments to it, including a sunset clause. “There’s nowhere in this that says that you can undo this once you start it,” Moyle declared, noting that Gov. Butch Otter supports the bill, which could make it harder for lawmakers to undo. “And by the way, you have a whole year to decide this, did you know that? You can put it off a year,” he told the House. “We can drink the Kool-Aid in a year, maybe it’ll be better by then.” He compared the state-based exchange to a “sock puppet” that has to ask “mother may I” from the federal government for anything it does. “I feel like I can see what we need to do, and I feel like we're close,” Moyle said, “but I also know that this isn't right. We're going to give something away that we can never get back. Just step back. … If you have any doubt, you better be voting no.”

The public gallery above broke into loud applause at the conclusion of Moyle's remarks - right after he used the word “hogwash” to describe the “body corporate and politic” setup of the exchange. House Speaker Scott Bedke banged the gavel and said, “We will not stand for outbursts.”  

Moyle then moved to break for lunch. Minority Leader John Rusche, D-Lewiston, said, “Mr Speaker, I was ready to talk, but in deference to the good gentleman from 14, I will second the motion.” The House then recessed for an hour's lunch break.

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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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