Sixteen Republican House members, all of them freshmen, this morning announced their support for a bill to create a state-based health insurance exchange. That bill, promoted by Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter and currently in the Senate, is one of the most controversial of the 2013 session.
The first-year lawmakers constitute a key block of support, says the Idaho Statesman‘s Dan Popkey. The Spokesman-Review’s Betsy Russel reports they may give the exchange plan the votes it needs to pass in the Idaho House. However, the lawmakers’ support of Otter’s exchange bill is contingent on the passage of a companion measure that was introduced in the House Health and Welfare Committee this morning.
Sponsored by freshman Rep. Luke Malek (R-Coeur d’Alene), that bill would increase the Legislature’s oversight of a state-based exchange. Among other things, the “trailer” bill would add two non-voting members to the board that oversees the exchange, one House member and one Senate member, to be appointed by the leaders of both chambers.
It would also require that board meetings be public and televised or live-streamed, and mandate that the board report policy and fee changes to relevant Idaho House and Senate committees.