Eye On Boise

States could shift gears on type of exchange in future years...

From left, Sens. Patti Anne Lodge, John Goedde, and Dean Cameron, and Rep. Gary Collins hear from state Insurance Director Bill Deal at the Legislature's Health Care Task Force meeting on Monday. (Betsy Russell)
From left, Sens. Patti Anne Lodge, John Goedde, and Dean Cameron, and Rep. Gary Collins hear from state Insurance Director Bill Deal at the Legislature's Health Care Task Force meeting on Monday. (Betsy Russell)

Sen. Dean Cameron, R-Rupert, asked state Insurance Director Bill Deal about the "partnership" option on a health insurance exchange. "I think most Idahoans would prefer that the federal government not be in their insurance buying decisions," said Cameron. "So as I try to analyze, it seems to me that if the state has an exchange, then the state can keep the federal government out of those decisions. ... If the state decides not to do an exchange, then the federal government does their exchange and is in the lives of Idahoans." He asked, "How does a partnership keep the federal government at bay? ... And why is that even a viable consideration? It seems to me that either we jump in with both feet and do our own exchange, or we walk away and say 'we're not going to do anything' and we'll let the federal government do it to us."

Deal said, "I think most us of having to do with insurance have been aiming toward a state-based and run exchange." But he said time is running out. Deal said states can change their mind every November as to which route they choose. "So many states are considering this partnership thing as a way to get started, a way to fund an exchange, and then down the road, 2015, 2016, they can put together an exchange, move in a different direction, go with a state-based operation. ... That's why I mentioned the partnership, because it is an alternative." He said that also could include partnering with other states. Deal said going with a federally operated exchange would mean giving up a substantial amount of the state's authority to regulate insurance.
 




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Betsy Z. Russell
Betsy Russell covers Idaho news from the state capitol in Boise and writes the Eye on Boise blog.

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