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Eye On Boise

Otter targets insurance exchange ‘myths’

Idaho Gov. Butch Otter believes there’s been “a lot of misinformation and misunderstanding” about his proposal for a state-based health insurance exchange, so he’s sent out a memo on health insurance exchange “myths” and “facts” to all legislators. “There’s a lot of misinformation and misunderstanding as to what the governor is doing and what he isn’t doing and why he’s doing it,” said Otter’s spokesman, Jon Hanian. “We’ve encountered that a lot during the course of this discussion.”

An example: Hanian said people are calling in to the governor’s office and saying “that if the governor just says ‘no’ to a health insurance exchange, we can keep Obamacare out of Idaho.” That’s Myth No. 1 in the memo. “The question is not whether Idaho will have an exchange, but rather who will build and administer the system – the federal government or the state,” the memo says. “Ignoring the law would invite increased federal involvement in our state affairs through regulation of our insurance markets , forfeiting the creation of jobs in Idaho to other states, adding to the enlargement of the federal bureaucracy and incurring federal fees for operating costs associated with running a federal exchange.”

Hanian said the question “gives you pause to realize that there’s a little bit of a learning curve associated with some of this. So in an effort to clear up and dispel some of the myths and misinformation that was out there, this was provided.” You can read the full memo here.

Hanian said the governor’s office may still send out more information to lawmakers before it introduces its insurance exchange legislation this year. Asked when the bill is likely to emerge, he said, “I know that we’re very close.”

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Betsy Z. Russell
Betsy Z. Russell joined The Spokesman-Review in 1991. She currently is a reporter in the Boise Bureau covering Idaho state government and politics, and other news from Idaho's state capital.

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