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Eye On Boise

Little optimistic after meeting with feds in D.C. yesterday on health care exec order

Idaho Lt. Gov. Brad Little, state Insurance Director Dean Cameron and Sen. Jim Risch met with federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Administrator Seema Verma and White House advisers yesterday in Washington, D.C., and came away hopeful about working out a version of the state’s proposal to allow offer sale of insurance plans that don’t meet all Affordable Care Act requirements that would be acceptable to the Trump Administration.

Little said he called for the meeting to “sit face-to-face and provide significant and necessary clarifications about Idaho’s executive order and what we are trying to accomplish. … There had been a great deal of misunderstanding between CMS and what we are pursuing in health care, but now I believe we are back on track to getting an Idaho solution for Idahoans.”

Little said in a statement, “After these discussions, I believe they understand where we are coming from better, and we understand their position better. Moving forward, I am very optimistic that we can work together with the Trump Administration to implement an Idaho-based solution for health care that works for Idahoans and fulfills the goals of Idaho’s executive order.”

Gov. Butch Otter and Little signed the executive order on Jan. 5, saying it would allow insurers who also offer fully ACA-compliant plans to offer less-expensive, lower-benefit plans that healthy Idahoans now priced out of the insurance market could afford. Last week, the Trump Administration turned thumbs down on the idea, writing in a letter to Otter, “The PPACA remains the law and we have a duty to enforce and uphold the law.” The letter from Verma gave Idaho 30 days to respond, and threatened that if Idaho doesn’t comply with the law, the federal government could take over enforcement in the state and impose hefty fines on insurers offering the plans.

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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