What lawmakers have to say about insurance exchange

Foes and backers of Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter's insurance exchange plan alike spoke at length Wednesday during the six-hour House debate. Here's a sampling.

Rep. Del Raybould, R-Rexburg, for the state exchange: "I for one am not willing, if I can possibly help it, to turn this size of an enterprise that's going to affect every single person in this state to a federal entity where if I have a problem it's going to take a year or two to get straightened out...I want to be able to deal with (somebody in Idaho), not some bureaucrat from Washington DC."

House Minority Leader John Rusche, D-Lewiston, for the exchange: "It is a state exchange. We have lots of boards that are not elected: The workers compensation fund, the health departments in our various areas, the high-risk insurance pool. They respond to what the citizenry of Idaho needs. This model is a good choice for the citizens of Idaho."

Rep. Julie VanOrden, R-Pingree, for the exchange: "In my mind, I have to stand here and listen to my community and listen to what they feel like how it would affect them. They were more concerned about jobs, and with a state exchange, we would be able to somewhat preserve those jobs and make our locally economy better and that it would not affect their status. There might be some of that that happens, but they were concerned about local jobs in their community. I have talked to very conservative people who have said, a state exchange would be the best way to go."

Rep. Steven Miller, R-Fairfield, for the exchange: "I'm in favor of this bill because I believe it serves my constituents the best of two absolutely rotten choices."

Rep. Kelley Packer, R-McCammon, for the exchange: "I'm scared at what is happening because of those 25 states that have decided to cede their control to the federal government" by defaulting to a federal exchange. "Will it be easier or harder for President Obama to set up his single-payer system" that Idaho lawmakers oppose "if he has more than half the states under his umbrella... or if he has Republican states standing in opposition and refusing to cede control?"

Rep. Robert Anderst, R-Nampa, for an exchange: "Today I stand not necessarily in favor of a state exchange, but absolutely opposed to a federal exchange."

Rep. Mike Moyle, R-Star, against the state exchange: Exchange board members "are still a sock puppet for the federal government...If you want a state exchange, make a state exchange — not this 'corporate body politic' hogwash that we will all come to regret in the years to come."

Rep. Steven Harris, R-Meridian, against the exchange: "I refuse to be the one that allows any exchange, or the evils it brings. Which do you want to hear when all is said and done: 'Brought to you by Obama?' Or 'Brought to you by the Idaho Legislature?' "

Rep. Reed DeMordaunt, R-Eagle, against the exchange: "The only flexibility that I see is, how we say, 'Yes, ma'am.' ...Just because we put the word state in front of an exchange, that it somehow magically empowers us. Folks, there's no magic. We're not being empowered here. I would hope we would not sign up to be the puppet. I would hope we not sign up to be the enforcer."

Rep. Linden Bateman, R-Idaho Falls, against the exchange: "If we enter into a state exchange, that will have a chilling effect on national efforts to modify or alter 'Obamacare.' Most of us sitting in this chamber believe that 'Obamacare' is unconstitutional, despite the 5-4 decision," Bateman said, citing eventually-rejected Supreme Court decisions, including those upholding slavery- and segregation-era laws. "The fact is, the Supreme Court does make mistakes. It behooves us as states to resist those faulty decisions."

Rep. Lynn Luker, R-Boise, against the exchange: "What are we getting ourselves into? We're getting ourselves into a tar baby," Luker says, arguing that a new government database that will accompany exchanges hurts privacy rights. "You change your job, the government knows about it... why are we rushing into this? Once we're in the tar baby, we won't get out."

Rep. JoAn Wood, R-Rigby, against the exchange: "This is the biggest threat to the sovereignty of the state that I've had to deal with in the years that I've been here...I will not go willingly down this path."