Governor Otter Opts for State-based Health Exchange in Idaho
Good news came out of the Governor’s office today when Governor C.L. “Butch” Otter declared that Idaho will opt for a state-based health exchange, subject to legislative approval. Governor Otter said today that his decision reflects “my continued determination for Idaho to be actively engaged in making the best possible choices-to the degree we are allowed- in the interest of more accessible and affordable health care for our citizens.”
The Idaho Health Exchange Alliance is extremely pleased to hear Governor Otter has chosen to build a health exchange for Idahoans, by Idahoans. To read more on Governor Otter’s decision, please click here.
Many Idaho lawmakers had opted to do nothing on an health exchange, gambling unsuccessfully that the U.S. Supreme Court would overturn the national health insurance law, will now receive health exchange legislation from Governor Otter when they convene in January.
Governor Otter’s decision follows the overwhelming vote of a working group he appointed to study the issue for months. Sen. John Goedde, R-Coeur d’Alene, who served on the group, said, “I think the governor did the right thing, in the face of certainly a lot of opposition.”
Goedde said, “I don’t think that we have any choice – we’re going to establish a state-based exchange, or we are going to get the federal exchange by default.”
The Idaho Health Exchange Alliance was also effective in writing letter to the editors, opinion pieces and calling your local legislators and the Governor’s office. Due to their efforts they were able to spread the word and advocate for a state-based exchange for the last four and a half months.
WORKING GROUP ON HEALTH INSURANCE EXCHANGE:
- Senator John Goedde of Coeur d’Alene
- Representative John Rusche of Lewiston
- Representative Lynn Luker of Boise
- Zelda Geyer-Sylvia, Blue Cross of Idaho
- Scott Kreiling, Regence Blue Shield
- Dave Self, Pacific Source Health Plans
- Tom Shores, independent health insurance broker
- Kevin Settles, business owner
- Dr. John Livingston, Boise physician
- Alex LaBeau, Idaho Association of Commerce and Industry
- Wayne Hoffman, Idaho Freedom Foundation
- John Watts, Idaho Chamber Alliance
Governor Otter still remained critical of the national health care reform law, which he maintains won’t lower health care costs. “But it is an unfortunate and unwelcome reality, and it would be irresponsible of me to simply abandon the field to federal bureaucrats,” he said. “ In the face of uncertainty we must assert our independence and our commitment to self-determination while fulfilling our responsibility to the rule of law.”
Health insurance exchanges, under the national health care reform law, will be created to provide an online marketplace where consumers can shop for the plans, rates and features they want, and also access government subsidies if they qualify for them. States have the option of setting up their own exchanges, partnering with the federal government, or doing nothing and allowing the federal government to operate their state exchanges.
Filed under: Idaho Insurance Exchange
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