Governor says executive order eliminates need for Obamacare in Idaho

Idaho Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter and Lt. Gov. Brad Little signed an executive order Friday they say eliminates the need for Obamacare in Idaho.

The executive order is intended to broaden health care options for Idahoans by establishing new state-regulated plans outside the Affordable Care Act.

In a March letter to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Otter outlined the state’s plan for creating new health insurance options.

“We believe we can develop products for Idaho consumers that are 30-60 percent less expensive than comparable plans under the Affordable Care Act,” Otter said in the letter to HHS Sec. Tom Price. “These are comprehensive plans that meet minimum benefit requirements.”

The state has since updated those numbers to 30-50 percent less expensive than comparable plans.

Idaho is the first state in the nation to take this approach to health care. Sources say the new plans could be available within months.

“We simply see our proposal as adding options and choice to simulate cost competitiveness,” Otter said.

State-regulated plans would include similar essential health benefits as ACA plans with some exceptions. State plans can include maternity services but will make maternity care a separate rider.

“A top-down, one-size-fits-all approach never works,” Little said. “Health care is much different in New Plymouth than it is in New York, and is true even closer to home with differences from Kuna to Kamiah. Allowing Idahoans greater and more affordable options for themselves and their families is the right thing to do.”

Idaho consumers can remain on their current ACA plans.