BOISE -- Many are expected to be at the Statehouse Thursday morning to give their opinion on Idaho's future health insurance exchange.

It's an issue that's been through plenty of discussions and several drafts of legislation.

Lawmakers expect a large turnout Thursday, even though this is not the first public hearing on the issue.

People will be testifying before the House Health and Welfare Committee shortly after 7 a.m.


The committee is going to come to listen and not question because we want to hear what the citizens have to say, says Burley Republican Representative Fred Wood, Chairman of the committee.

The bill now being discussed is House Bill 248, which is Governor Otter's legislation creating a state run health insurance exchange, that also includes several amendments.

Wood tells us the changes include more legislative oversight, which was added by a group of 16 freshmen.

It also includes several other, smaller additions, like encouraging the governing body of the exchange to buy Idaho products and employ Idaho people.


There have been several drafts of the legislation, and previous public hearings on the topic.

We asked Representative Wood if he expects the testimony to be any different this time.

He says it's more about the process, and making sure lawmakes hear every concern that the public has.

Whether or not we hear anything new I don't know it will be interesting to find out if we do hear anything new, but as much discussion as there has been in the statehouse, since the beginning of this session, even spilling into last fall, I don't know if we will hear anything new or not, says Wood.

If you would like to come testify on Thursday, the hearing will be held until 11 a.m. in the newly re-named Lincoln Auditorium, in the west wing of the Statehouse.

Each person will be limited to 3 minutes to address the committee.

Wood tells us he does expect this bill to go to the full House floor.

I think we have the actual final bill that will go before the legislature, we will have to see how that fares but I don't see at this point in time any other amendments, says Wood.

Wood says it could carry over into Friday as well.

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