Health insurance exchange myth, fact - Coeur d'Alene Press: Local News

Health insurance exchange myth, fact

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Posted: Friday, January 18, 2013 10:49 am

From the office of Gov. Butch Otter:

Myth - Rejecting a state-run health insurance exchange will ensure Idaho will not be part of any exchange.

Fact – The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) requires every state to have a health insurance exchange. 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. 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, such as the current proposal to charge insurance companies a 3.5-percent fee for each policy premium.

Myth – Idaho shouldn’t participate in establishing an exchange because the federal government will not be able to accomplish creating the federal health insurance exchanges. Let the federal government fail at this process.

Fact – The federal government has been working with contractors and vendors since the passage of the bill almost three years ago in preparation for the start date of January 2014. There is now a federal website available in preparation for enrollment in October of 2013 at Absent a state-run exchange, the state will be connected to a federal exchange.

Myth – By choosing a state-based health insurance exchange, the Governor is allowing all of the PPACA or Obamacare to be enacted in Idaho.

Fact – Congress passed the PPACA or Obamacare almost three years ago. Several states (including Idaho) sued over the mandate to purchase health insurance. The states lost the lawsuit. The Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of the law. Requirements of the law are now reaching the established timelines for being incorporated into health care and insurance carriers’ business systems. This is the law of the land and will be adopted whether or not the Governor opts for a state or federal insurance exchange.

Myth – There will be no impact to the State’s businesses if we allow the federal government to run the exchange.

Fact – Only in a state-run exchange will stakeholders be able to fully participate in the creation and administration of the exchange. As issues arise, businesses and consumers may not have a state presence to address their grievances, make changes or petition the federal government.

Myth – There is no flexibility for the state in the administration of a state-run exchange. The federal government will still have all the control.

Fact – Idaho currently follows thousands of rules and regulations imposed by the federal government in all aspects of governing the state. Federal/state cooperation is not a new concept. In cooperation with the federal government there are numerous documented areas that the state will have the ability to make decisions in creating and administering the state-run exchange. In addition to those, a state-based exchange will provide Idaho with more control over operational costs, controlling costs to consumers. It will rely on existing state agencies to perform functions they already perform instead of creating duplicate federal functions.

Myth – The Idaho Health Freedom Act prevents the Governor or the Legislature from creating a state- based health insurance exchange (SBE).

Fact – According to the Idaho Attorney General’s Office report to the Department of Insurance, “the Idaho Health Freedom Act (IHFA) predates passage and constitutional review of the Patient Protection Affordable Care Act (PPACA). The IHFA is an attempt to override the passage of PPACA and the insurance mandate included therein. Importantly, the IHFA was adopted prior to passage of PPACA and prior to litigation of the overarching issue of constitutionality.”

“The key to whether the Idaho Health Freedom Act (IHFA) prevents the creation and operation of a SBE is whether the SBE imposes, collects, enforces, or effectuates any penalty under PPACA. In fact, no penalty attends implementation or operation of a State-Based Exchange or Federal Exchange. ... the authority to impose, collect, or enforce a penalty rests exclusively with the I.R.S.”

Myth – The Governor’s decision to support a state-run health insurance exchange shows his support of Obamacare.

Fact – The Governor’s intention, by supporting a state-run exchange, is to assert our independence and our commitment to self-determination, while fulfilling our responsibility to the rule of law.

Myth – Everyone has to participate in the health insurance exchange.

Fact – You do not have to use the state or federal exchange if you are currently covered by health insurance, have Medicare, are currently covered by Medicaid, or choose to purchase insurance outside the exchange. An exchange would assist individuals without health insurance benefits, small businesses needing to pool with other small businesses to cover their employees, those needing to find out if they qualify for Medicaid benefits coverage or would qualify for a federal subsidy to help pay for their health benefits coverage.

Myth – It will be better for the state to take a wait-and-see approach to the exchange and opt in at a later date.

Fact – By waiting we will miss our opportunity for input during the design and implementation of the exchange. Because of our state’s rights stance, it is more reasonable to be at the table, negotiating on behalf of our citizens, rather than risk more federal control of our health care and insurance industries.

  • Discuss

Welcome to the discussion.


  • truthful1 posted at 9:53 am on Sun, Jan 20, 2013.

    truthful1 Posts: 554

    President Obama a recollection: Was born in Hawaii to a mixed ethnicity family; Was raised by a single parent; Saw and lived in a foreign culture for a few years; Returned to Hawaii while Read More... His family was so poor, they lived on food stamps. He studied at 2 Universities. Majored in constitutional law; Was the top of his class on graduation; Turned down million dollar job offers to work with the poor, disposed, dispossessed and disenfranchised, for a pittance; Became a constitutional Professor; State senator, Senator, Has a loving highly gifted wife and well adjusted children; Has just paid off his first house; Has a net worth of 8.4 million dollars; Is the first president to pay for renovating the living quarters in the White House out of his own pocket and returned the amount allotted for this to every president, back to the treasury; Has tried to govern from the middle, much to the chagrin of the left base; Has adopted Republican ideas when he saw value in them only to have the Republicans obstruct even their own ideas; He has an outstanding list off accomplishments and successes as President and is too humble to beat his own drum about them; Has gone from poverty to President; He doesn’t use religion as a wedge issue to divide the nation: He survived the most dishonest campaign and propaganda event in the entire history of the United States, He turned the economy around from net job losses in the first quarter of 2008 to 32 months of job creation, through his foresight and in spite unparalleled obstruction by those avowed to destroy his presidency, even if it meant destroying the economy and shattering real people’s lives. Thank whatever God you believe in that he won because his loss would have brought back the same team that nearly destroyed the world economy and went to wars for personal enrichment while Americas sons and daughters lost their lives for no bid contracts and big oil.The whole world breathed a sigh of relief on Nov 7.Congratulations Mr. President,

  • Candor posted at 8:19 am on Sat, Jan 19, 2013.

    Candor Posts: 35

    Fact : Implementing Obamacare in Idaho is "implementing Obamacare in Idaho." Anyone who says different belongs in the Ministry of Truth in Orwell's 1984. Its like Bill Clintons definition of "is."

    Myth: Butch Otter himself wrote this article. This article was written by Butch's staff and insurance commissioner who are completely beholden to the Blues (Blue Cross and Blue Shield,) the main proponents promoting the state exchange to maintain their virtual oligopoly in heath care in Idaho.

    Fact: States rights are not maintained by blindly serving every request the Federal government makes. Idaho has no constitutional legal obligation to create an exchange. State exchanges will be so tightly regulated that their will be no benefit of autonomy other then we will end up paying for it. The only beneficiaries to a state exchange will be the insurance companies pulling the strings. It is the difference between being a prisoner or a trustee in prison. No matter what you are still in prison but if you are a trustee you assist in the imprisoning of others.

  • Sumner31 posted at 7:59 am on Sat, Jan 19, 2013.

    Sumner31 Posts: 2

    Thanks for cutting through the political mumbo-jumbo and explaining it.

  • bob-athol posted at 5:36 am on Sat, Jan 19, 2013.

    bob-athol Posts: 180

    Fact - I like Gov. Butch
    Myth - We have to comply with a federal health exchange

    Fact - States indeed have power to go against the federal government when it over steps its bounds
    Myth - States have to obey federal laws .... Colorado and Washington state told the feds, screw you, were going to do our own thing and legalized pot. They separated from control they felt was not to their liking.

    Fact - Idaho can create the best health program in the world, but it will never occur under Obamacare
    Myth - Obamacare will reduce costs and improve overall health care. (I read the bill in 2009 while it was being debated, it took 44 hours just to read, I also wrote an alternate health care program)

    Fact - Our nation is out of control and has for many years been run by politicians who have screwed America for the sake of their own gain. Obamacare is about money and control, not health care.
    Myth - Americans have to continue to allow this corruption to continue.

    America is tanking and rapidly, (6 trillion in new debt in just the last 4 yrs) but Idaho can lead the nation in nearly every economic area and in solving our states social issues. I'd love to see Butch and our state representatives actually do something about it, and I extend my hand to help.

    So here is my challenge, Butch, lets be bold and forge a new path and show the world, Idaho has the brightest talent anywhere. Really, lets solve this in our own Idaho way, we'll actually fix the problem!

    I'm in, Butch, how about it? For every problem there are several solutions, Obamacare is not one of them .......

  • flattopramen posted at 7:49 pm on Fri, Jan 18, 2013.

    flattopramen Posts: 140

    Wait a second... are you backing down Otter? You clearly are submitting to Obamacare while at the same time passively denying your support. Maybe you doubt that Idaho can run its own health care program at a profit? Or maybe you and your staff couldn't come up a with a plan in time, so instead of admitting a lack of competence, you offer an oversimplified myth/fact apology letter to the good people of Idaho? Smooth. How hard can it be to admit your original attempt was just a natural reflex to appeal to the (at the time) issue of the day in vain effort to seem very concerned to your equally very concerned constituents.

    We all know health care reform is a dramatic attempt to assert federal command and control over this country's health care system. What about the 10th Amendment Butch? Does it matter that the lawsuits attempting to find the Obama care illegal were funded solely by special interest groups. Lobbyist dollars or tax payer dollars, it all pays the same right Butch? If it was a real issue (which it is), you should call Obama's bluff. At worst a few people will suffer a little... a small price to pay to prove that Obamacare is bad for our country.

    Tired of our state government(s) being run by empty shells propped up by corporate donations and lobbyists?... Me too. Red, blue, whatever, we need to get to a place where the states can determine their needs and everyone else can deal with it or move to place they are more comfortable.

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