About 200 people attend Idaho insurance exchange hearing

Credit: Eric Turner/KTVB

About 200 people attend Idaho insurance exchange hearing

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by Karen Zatkulak

Bio | Email | Follow: @KTVBKaren

KTVB.COM

Posted on February 5, 2013 at 5:02 PM

Updated Wednesday, Nov 6 at 9:36 PM

BOISE -- Health insurance is a major concern that affects nearly every Idahoan.

About 200 people showed up at the Statehouse auditorium Tuesday to voice their opinion on the topic.

Gov. Butch Otter's supports that idea and wants to state to create its own healthcare marketplace.

But many said the Gem State should instead follow a federally-run exchange.

After hearing explanations on both sides of the argument, we then heard from residents.

Many Idahoans were ready to share their stories and their views.

While some support a state-run exchange with a 16-member board, others say they'd rather opt to leave the exchange in the hands of the federal government.

"I'm against this, I'm against any form of insurance exchange," said Eric Peterson.

"By setting up healthcare exchange, entering a contract with the federal government where we have no idea of cost or provisions, we are stuck and won't be able to do much about it," said Jon Menough.

"What we're looking at is 16 many czars controlling one of Idaho's industries -- insurance. I don't see any upbeat and supporting this legislation," said Joe Kawalec.

There were many others who didn't get the chance to testify because they ran out of time in today's hearing.

"A one-size-fits-all does not fit the state of Idaho, for Idaho, we are looking for specific solutions that fit the needs of the state of Idaho, local control, we want control of this marketplace," said Fernando Veloz.

The governor's office said nearly 300,000 people throughout the state are without health insurance, and he state-run plan would cost $20 million to put in place, and about $10 million to operate annually.

But the Idaho Freedom Foundation said the exact cost is still just an estimate and there are many unknowns involved in that plan.

Another committee hearing is planned for Thursday afternoon, and more public testimony is planned.

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