See what Idaho lawmakers are saying about Otter's insurance exchange
Foes and backers of Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter's insurance exchange plan alike spoke at length Thursday during the nearly three-hour debate. Here's a sampling.
— Sen. Dean Cameron, R-Rupert, for a state exchange: "The exchange is nothing more than a website. It's not the agent of the federal government. It will not be implementing or enforcing the Affordable Care Act.
"The carriers are asking for it, not because they will profit from it, not because they get some advantage from it, because they won't. They're trying to survive."
— Sen. Jim Rice, R-Caldwell, for a state exchange: "This is an area where we have no ability to win but we have some ability to defend our citizens," said. "They elected us to defend them. They elected us to protect their rights in the ways that make the most sense, the ways that are most effective, in the ways that most work."
— Sen. John Tippets, R-Montpelier, for a state exchange: "Today, the choice if federal exchange or federal exchange. I choose a state exchange, because I truly believe it best serves the citizens of the state of Idaho."
— Sen. Bart Davis, R-Idaho Falls, for a state exchange: "If Idaho does nothing, federal regulators will exclusively build Idaho's health care system. I worry what federally imposed insurance rates will be. I also worry that a single pay system is the ultimate goal...If Idahoans cede an exchange to the federal government, the next step to a single payer system is easier."
— Sen. Marv Hagedorn, R-Meridian, for a state exchange: "I'm so frustrated, as many of us in this room are, that Obamacare is law in the first place." But "our choice is federal or state exchange. I can't ride this pig if it's a federal exchange. I can ride it with spurs on if it's a state exchange."
— Sen. Monty Pearce, R-New Plymouth, against a state exchange: "Liberty is the right to choose. Freedom is the result of a right choice... Folks, this is Idaho."
— Sen. Russ Fulcher, R-Meridian, against a state exchange: "There are ramifications to voluntarily complying. In my opinion, this is going to be litigated for decades. Once we comply, once we take their money, we're in a poorer position to litigate... In my heart and in my mind, I know where this leads. I know there's no turning back once we do it. I believe this puts us on an imminent path to a single payer" system that he said will cripple private insurers.
— Sen. Steve Thayn, R-Emmett, against a state exchange: "What I see in this bill is a lot of promises, a lot of things we would like to believe...As I read it, we don't really have any oversight. We have an independent board."
— Sen. Sheryl Nuxoll, R-Grangeville, against a state exchange: "To support this mandate of 'Obamacare' through an exchange would require us to pay for" contraceptives she believes could also induce abortions. "The state is in no better position than (with) the federal exchange on the life issue... I will have no choice with an exchange. If I buy insurance, I'm paying for abortion. If I don't buy insurance, I'm paying a penalty, I'm still paying for abortion. Forcing us to buy insurance on a state exchange is an attack on our religious freedoms and conscience rights."
— Sen. Branden Durst, D-Boise, against a state exchange: "We have a responsibility as senators to protect the consumer at all costs. We've missed that boat."
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