Democrats: It's time for GOP to show leadership, create Idaho health exchange

Gov. Butch Otter should issue an executive order to create a state-run health insurance exchange, or reconvene legislators to create the exchange, House Minority Leader John Rusche said today.

“The citizens of Idaho are asking for help and Democratic legislators are calling on the governor and Republican legislators to take action,” Rusche, a retired physician, said in a news release. “The cost of health care and health insurance is crippling family budgets and business recovery. The constitutional Affordable Care Act offers tools to make progress. Our Republican colleagues cannot continue to hide behind political campaign slogans when action is needed.”

The GOP-controlled Legislature did not act to create a state-run exchange this session — even though the idea had backing form the business community. Otter had voiced support for the proposal before the session, but backed away amidst criticism from Republican legislators. Now, Idaho has until January to create a framework for its own exchange, an online marketplace where individuals and small businesses can shop for insurance. If the state does not create an exchange, the federal government can establish an exchange, under the health care law upheld in U.S. Supreme Court last week.

Otter Chief of Staff David Hensley last week ruled out a special session on health care issues, according to Betsy Russell of the Spokane Spokesman-Review.

Rusche also took Republican leadership to task Friday on my blog, responding to a draft of our Sunday editorial on the health care ruling, and Republicans' politicking on the issue. Wrote Rusche: "Not only are (Republicans) in denial about the (health care law), but about the difficulties and problems in health care financing and delivery. And that the industry is rapidly trying to move into the future, and only asking for a small bit of cooperation."

Here's the Democrats' news release, emailed out by Rusche this morning:

The governor and Republican House and Senate members must set aside political rhetoric and work with Democratic legislators to meet the federal deadline for creating an Idaho Health Insurance Exchange. That will mean either an executive order or a special legislative session. Failure to act will cost Idaho millions of dollars.

“The citizens of Idaho are asking for help and Democratic legislators are calling on the governor and Republican legislators to take action,” said Dr. John Rusche, minority House leader. “The cost of health care and health insurance is crippling family budgets and business recovery. The constitutional Affordable Care Act offers tools to make progress. Our Republican colleagues cannot continue to hide behind political campaign slogans when action is needed.”

“Last session the majority refused to consider developing the health insurance exchange and even removed appropriations for standard Department of Insurance activities related to the ACA. Health and Welfare was beleaguered when trying to comply with Medicaid readiness standards. The citizens and businesses of the state deserve better.” Rusche added.

Idaho Democrats call for a rapid return to planning for a state exchange. We also hope for an honest and fiscally responsible discussion about health care for the uninsured in this state.

Leadership is needed to address the health care issues. We commit to provide our expertise and effort as well, and call on the governor and Republican legislators to step up.

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Executive order

Gov should just issue an executive order. We do not need the legislature to play their political posturing games at our financial expense. Look at how they spent our tax dollars last session. Too much time and too much mischief. We can't afford for them to reconvene.

Shill much

Kevin? Is the Statesman going to endorse Obama again? Does the sun rise in the East.

Probably

If they intend to endorse the better candidate.

Yeah Right

GOP and the word leadership should never be in the same sentence unless preceded by the words lack of. I don't care what level of government you are talking about. They offer no solutions what so ever only criticism.

Listen to the Democrats

I would just as soon have the Federal insurance exchange than one set up by our incompetent republican legislature without input from the Democrats who actually know something about the health care law.

Please

Please...appoint a citizen's panel with health care professionals, business folks and NO legislators to get this job done. We can't trust our elected officials in Idaho to lead a one horse parade! They have proven their incompetence time and time again. And...make sure there are NO Luna's on the panel...Idaho has become Lunaho...