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Eye On Boise

Gov’s insurance exchange working group opens first meeting

There's a capacity crowd of more than 60 in the audience this morning as the governor's Health Insurance Exchange Working Group gathers for its first meeting. “Our challenge is to find some solutions,” state Insurance Director Bill Deal told the audience, adding, “We also extend a welcome to all of you who have chosen to join us this morning. We've got a good crowd, and that is good.”

The agenda for today's meeting, which runs from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the west conference room of the J.R. Williams Building across from the state Capitol, includes overviews of the Supreme Court's health care decision; the Idaho insurance market; insurance and market reforms in the health care act; legal requirements, deadlines and options for a health insurance exchange; and discussion of next steps for the panel. “Today I think our goal of this working group is to establish the foundation for future meetings,” Deal said. The 13-member panel includes lawmakers, representatives of Idaho's major insurers, lobbyists, a business owner, a physician and an insurance agent.

Deal said the panel won't take any public testimony today, but is offering the public the opportunity to submit questions on cards, which will be answered via email. Audio streaming also is being offered for those who want to listen from afar; there's a link on the Department of Insurance website here.

Deal said thus far, there are 15 states planning for state-run health insurance exchanges; one planning for a partnership exchange; seven that have decided against a state-run exchange; and the rest, including Idaho, still are weighing options.

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Betsy Z. Russell covers Idaho news from The Spokesman-Review's bureau in Boise.

Named best state-based political blog in Idaho for 2013 by The Fix

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