House Health & Welfare Chairman Fred Wood, R-Burley, is opening the debate in the House on HB 248, the governor’s state health insurance exchange bill. “Prior to going through the House bill, I’d like to take a moment to put this bill into perspective and why we’re here today,” Wood told the House. “With the passage of the Affordable Care Act, Idaho has a simple choice to make, and that choice is what kind of a state insurance exchange do we want in terms of health insurance. We have to have an exchange, with the passage of the Affordable Care Act. We don’t have a choice not to have an exchange. … And there’s only two types, there’s a state exchange, or there’s two versions of a federally facilitated exchange."
“Secondly, this exchange is going to be a marketplace. It’s not going to be the marketplace, and it’s not going to be the only marketplace. … There will certainly be a marketplace outside of the exchange. And thirdly, come January 1st of 2014, there will be significant changes to most health insurance products sold both inside the exchange and outside the exchange.”
With that, he began going through the provisions of the bill, which sets up the exchange as an independent body corporate and politic, like the state Insurance Fund or the Idaho Housing and Finance Association, and makes it voluntary to participate in the exchange both for customers and those offering insurance.