Freshmen legislators present new exchange bill
Three months ago, a group of 16 freshmen house members were constituents. Now they make an early splash with a major health insurance exchange bill. Video by IdahoOnYourSide.comvideo
Three months ago, a group of 16 freshmen house members were constituents. Constituents who wanted to shoot down a state-run health insurance exchange.
"We are extremely close to those who are looking at this saying, 'Why can't we just say no to Obamacare,’” says Rep. Luke Malek (R-Coeur d’ Alene). “And so, we all came here with that attitude. Then, we get here and we have to deal with the reality that we can't make the exchange go away."
So, instead of supporting a bill currently being discussed in the Senate, the Freshmen got together and created their own idea.
"It's our job to make a decision at a high level to say, 'look, we're going to do this, or we're going to do that,'” says Rep. Brandon Hixon (R-Caldwell), “and the decision that we all came to collectively as a group was frankly, that we want to grab the bull by the horns and make a state exchange work, but not the way that the Governor had written the previous bill."
So, what do the lawmakers who've worked at the Capitol for years have to say about the gutsy legislators?
“It’s great,” says Rep. John Vander Woude (R-Nampa). “I think it's a tremendous asset to this body and I think this group of Freshmen is a good, strong group of Freshmen and I think they're not going to sit back and just watch how things happen."
One thing's for sure. This group of 16 lawmakers means business.
"I will not vote for the initial bill until our bill is passed, because our bill's a trailer bill, which basically hooks onto this,” Hixon says. “I don't agree with what's in the bill currently, so we have to make sure that the bill aligns with the Governor's bill"