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Posts tagged: health exchange

Exchange Attracts 76,061 Idahoans

The numbers are in from the YourHealthIdaho insurance exchange open enrollment period, and it turns out that 76,061 Idahoans signed up for health insurance plans through the exchange, nearly double the expected number. The federal government’s target for Idaho was 40,000 during the six-month open enrollment period. “We have significantly exceeded those estimated targets,” said Amy Dowd, executive director of the exchange. “It’s very exciting, very, very encouraging that we are on the right path. Idahoans are interested in getting insurance for themselves and their families.” The YourHealthIdaho board has voted to keep fees at 1.5 percent of plan costs through the end of calendar year 2015; that’s compared to the fee on federally operated insurance exchanges of 3.5 percent. Exchange officials are estimating that Idahoans are saving $4.4 million on their health insurance due to the lower fee for the state exchange/Betsy Russell, Eye on Boise. More here.

Question: What does the average Idahoan know about the state health exchange that the average Idaho GOP legislator doesn't?

State Health Exchange Work Begins

Idaho’s new state-based health insurance exchange board gathered for its first meeting today, and each of its 19 members had already received a somewhat surprising welcome – an anonymous call threatening a lawsuit. “I got a call from a guy who did not want to identify what firm he worked for,” said Stephen Weeg, the board’s interim chairman. “He just wanted to give us all a notice that within three months’ time we would all be sued for being on this board – I think he called everybody on this board, just to let us know that we were already in trouble.” Weeg said his first reaction was, “Wait a minute – we’re just doing what the law requires”/Betsy Russell, SR. More here.

Question: Are you ready for the state health exchange?

Pivotal Vote Defines New Speaker

Idaho is poised to have its own state-based health insurance exchange. But getting that far required a unique coalition - Gov. C.L. (Butch) Otter, a libertarian governor who broke with many of his fellow GOP governors; a freshman class of Idaho House Republicans and a solid House Democratic caucus. The measure cleared the House Wednesday on a 41-29 vote - after another version won Senate passage by 23-12. It involved the most unlikely of bills - creation of a state-based exchange is part and parcel of Obamacare. And it came in the most unexpected of places - the same Legislature that only two years earlier so detested Obamacare that it openly flirted with nullifying the federal law in open defiance of the U.S. Constitution. One man stitched it all together, House Speaker Scott Bedke (pictured), R-Oakley/Marty Trillhaase, Lewiston Tribune. More here.

Question: Is the 41-29 House vote on a state-run exchange an indication that the uber-cons aren't as strong as they were two years ago?

Tea Party Admits Pushing Robo-Calls

Rep. Wendy Horman, R-Idaho Falls, and six other lawmakers are seeking an inquiry into possible violations of the Idaho Telephone Solicitation Act by opponents Gov. Butch Otter’s health insurance exchange bill. Horman said she received about 120 computer generated calls on her unlisted cell phone and office phone that that failed to include legally required disclosures, including the identity of the person for whom the call is made. The purpose of the message and contact information for the caller also are required. The calls were made Saturday and Tuesday, Horman said. Tea Party Boise President Chad Inman told me Tuesday the calls were made on behalf of Gem State Tea Party, an umbrella group uniting 13 Idaho Tea Party groups/Dan Popkey, Idaho Statesman. More here.

Question: Would you like to see the Idaho AG take action on this request?

House Debate Begins On Exchange

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”/Betsy Russell, Eye on Boise. More here.

Question: Go ahead and predict how the legislators in your district will vote on the exchange — state run or no?

Statesman: Otter Off, By $300 Million

If you’re going to get your facts wrong, it’s a bad idea to botch things up on a complicated and controversial issue. Or to misspeak in front of a room full of reporters. Gov. Butch Otter violated both tenets last week. And this week, he had to do a 180, to the tune of $300 million. Here’s the recap: On Jan. 5, at a legislative preview sponsored by The Associated Press, Otter made his case for a state-run (but federally funded) health exchange, which would allow small businesses or individuals to shop for the most affordable insurance coverage. Otter upped the ante with a new argument: He said the state risked losing $300 million in Medicaid money, should it fail to establish an exchange. Sounds like a compelling argument. Indeed, we wrote at length about it in a Jan. 6 editorial restating our support for a state-run exchange. Trouble is, Otter had his facts wrong, and admitted as much to the AP late Wednesday. Good luck unringing that bell, governor/Idaho Statesman Editorial Board. More here. (AP file photo of Butch Otter at State of the State address)

Question: Do you think Gov. Butch Otter has a good grasp on the issues involved in the complicated health exchange issue?


Read more here: http://www.idahostatesman.com/2012/01/13/1950697/otter-is-off-but-only-by-300-million.html#storylink=cpy

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About this blog

D.F. Oliveria is a columnist and blogger for The Spokesman-Review. Print Huckleberries is a past winner of the Herb Caen Memorial Column contest by the National Association of Newspaper Columnists. The Readership Institute of Northwestern University cited this blog as a good example of online community journalism.

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