State exchange bill passes House committee
The bill to create a state-run health insurance exchange is advancing to the House floor, after the House Health and Welfare committee voted 10-1 to pass the bill on Thursday. Video by IdahoOnYourSide.comvideo
The bill to create a state-run health insurance exchange is advancing to the House floor, after the House Health and Welfare committee voted 10-1 to pass the bill on Thursday.
But, before it passed, there were nearly four hours of debate over the merits of the legislation, and whether the exchange really gives the state enough control.
After the dozens of people who testified finished, only Rep. John Vander Woude (R-Nampa) voted against the bill. He says, no amount of testimony would have changed that.
"No. The bill, in my opinion just isn't what it's presented to be,” he says. “It's a private exchange. It's not a state exchange. It's nothing that has any state control over it. "
But, the chairman of the committee disagrees.
Rep. Fred Wood (R-Burley) says the supporters of the exchange voted for it because they thought the exchange was inevitable, and they want it under state control.
"Idaho has a history of 120 years of doing things better than the Federal government,” Wood says. “And that's where we took our stand today. And that's what we intend to continue to do."
Although the majority of the people who testified were in favor of ditching the bill, Rep.Vander Woude says he's not holding the vote against his peers.
"I've told people before; you've got to be able to explain why you vote for a certain issue,” he says. “Don't do it because someone else told ya."
And, with the bill heading to the House floor, the supporters will get their chance to explain themselves, as they hope the bill gets at least 36 votes.
"I think it's extremely important,” says Wood. “I think it's the hallmark legislation of this session."