Another committee took a look at Idaho’s health insurance exchange predicament Thursday, and the prognosis wasn’t good.
If Idaho is going to create an exchange — an online marketplace where individuals and small businesses can shop for insurance — the state must submit its framework to the feds by November. Will it happen? From Emilie Ritter Saunders of StateImpact Idaho, here’s the grim assessment delivered by Penny Schweibert, project manager for the state Department of Insurance: “It would almost have to be a miracle.”
There is a flurry of discussion about this issue — and I can attest that it’s tough to keep the players straight. A legislative panel discussed the issue Monday. On Thursday, Gov. Butch Otter’s task force took its first look at the situation. I mixed up the two groups in the print version of a Wednesday editorial.
The lineup is confusing, but the Insurance Department’s message is clear. On Monday, department head Bill Deal told lawmakers that the state may not have enough time to set up an exchange.
If the state doesn’t do this, the feds will — as prescribed by the federal health care law. That gives the state little control over the framework.
The matter falls to Otter’s task force, which appears determined to move quickly and make its recommendations. A do-nothing 2012 Legislature has left no alternative.