Otter: Federal-based health insurance exchange working for now

Credit: KTVB

Gov. Butch Otter

Print
Email
|

by Karen Zatkulak

Bio | Email

KTVB.COM

Posted on October 6, 2013 at 3:22 PM

Updated Sunday, Oct 6 at 5:04 PM

BOISE -- Despite online delays, Idaho's insurance exchange is now open for business.

It's one of the few state-run marketplaces in a Republican-leaning state, and it's also currently relying on the federal platform.

Even though Gov. Butch Otter is still against the Affordable Care Act, he says this exchange was the right decision for the Gem State.

"I'm still against Obamacare. I'm still against the imposition the feds put on us," Otter said.

It's clear that Otter did not welcome the Affordable Care Act to Idaho.

He tells us many Idahoans didn't want a federally-mandated insurance marketplace, either.

"We chose it simply because if we were going to have to be involved in it and it is the law of the land, we wanted Idahoans making decisions about Idahoans," Otter said.

Otter says Idaho is one of only four states with Republican governors that chose a state-run exchange.

Right now, it's based on the federal website, but Otter hopes by 2014, we will have our own unique exchange.

As for its success, Otter’s just not sure.

"I think there is a great potential here for the marketplace to respond to this and be more competitive than the government marketplace," Otter said.

But, he says that relies on a lot of participation by Idahoans.

With a pool of about 200,000 uninsured, Otter says many are planning not to get insurance, and instead pay the penalty.

Otter says he can relate.

"I can remember when Butch Otter was 18 to 30 years old and bulletproof, and no matter what I did, I wasn't going to get hurt that bad," Otter said.

He says a lack of consumers could mean failure for Idaho's exchange.

And says he still questions the sustainability of the new healthcare system.

"They really don't know, they really don’t know. They are into something here, unknown waters," Otter said.

Otter says the board of directors in charge of our state's exchange have already learned a lot about improving the insurance options in Idaho.

Print
Email
|