Bringing the Economy Home

Bill To Create A State-Based Health Insurance Exchange Passes The Idaho House

After seven hours of debate, Idaho House lawmakers voted 41-29 to pass a bill that would give Idaho control over building and maintaining an online insurance marketplace.

One of the final comments during the House debate came from Rep. Lenore Hardy Barrett (R-Custer) who said, “Unless you’ve got something really important to say, let my people go.” Barrett was one of the 29 House members to vote against the state-based health insurance exchange.

The online insurance marketplace is a cornerstone of President Obama’s health care law. Idaho Governor C.L. “Butch” Otter has committed the state to building its own exchange, but that requires legislative approval.

Legislators who favor a state-run exchange say its paramount Idaho has as much control as possible over the marketplace.  Rep. Dell Raybould (R-Rexburg) compared state control of an exchange to state control over wolf management.

“Once you’ve acquiesced to their demands….then, look how many years it’s taken to get management of the wolves back,” said Raybould. That’s why Idaho should move forward with its own, state-built insurance marketplace, he says.

Rep. Mike Moyle (R-Star) doesn’t agree. He says the Idaho Legislature should continue to stand up to the federal government and say no to all aspects of Obamacare.

“If you have any doubt, you better be voting no,” said Moyle. “If you vote yes, and you think you have some say, you watch what happens in the next year or two as you watch that say go away. You want a state exchange? Make a state exchange! Not this body corporate politic hogwash we’ll all come to regret in the years to come.” 

According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, Idaho is one of 18 states with plans to build a state-based exchange, while 26 plan to default to a federally-operated marketplace.

You can find an annotated version of the new health insurance exchange bill here.
The Senate passed a similar plan last month, they’ll have to sign off on the House version before it goes to the governor’s desk.


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