On an Idaho health exchange, the path forward remains clear

Here's a draft of our Tuesday editorial.

Butch Otter has a new deadline — Dec. 14 — but the basic decision confronting the governor is unchanged.

Otter can decide that Idaho will construct its own health insurance exchange — an online marketplace where upwards of 300,000 uninsured Idahoans could shop for coverage.

Or Otter can decide to dig his boot heels into the ground and refuse to create an exchange, siding with the the ideologues in Otter’s own party who abhor “Obamacare” in all its forms. This would be, at best, a symbolic gesture, since the federal health care law authorizes Uncle Sam to establish an exchange if a state says no.

A simple choice, really. Last week, the day of decision was fast approaching. But late Thursday, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius gave the states a four-week extension, responding to requests from the Republican Governors Association and others.

We’re not sure exactly when due diligence ends and when procrastination kicks in. The idea of a state-run health exchange was discussed, at length, by a task force Otter appointed in July. In late October, this group recommended a state-run, nonprofit exchange on a 10-2 vote, submitting a 51-page report for Otter’s review.

What does Otter do with this recommendation?

Does Otter heed the advice of the majority of his task force — including legislators and representatives from the business and health care sectors? Or does Otter give oversized influence to the diehard naysayer in the group, Wayne Hoffman of the Idaho Freedom Foundation, a conservative lobbying group?

As long as we’re asking questions, is Otter looking forward — or looking backward?

Idaho and other states tried to convince the Supreme Court to overturn “Obamacare.” Republicans rallied behind a nominee, Mitt Romney, who vowed to repeal the law. Both efforts failed. So does Otter now govern from the perspective of someone who realizes that this law isn’t going away?

If Otter accepts this fact as political reality, unpleasant as that might be to stomach, then his choices on a health exchange are straightforward. If “Obamacare” is here to stay, then a health exchange is on its way. The only question is whether Idaho opts to craft its own exchange, locally operated and responsive to the local market, or accepts whatever the federal government comes up with.

It’s a question of local control. As long as Otter has the initiative and the good sense to assume control.

Uncle Sam gave Otter and fellow governors more time to deliberate.

The path forward, however, remains as clear as ever.

Freedom Foundation is off course on this one

With the outcome of the election, it is abundantly clear that we will be forced to deal with ACA for at least 4 more years. The Freedom Foundation is burying its head in the sand on this issue. Idaho needs / must take the lead to craft and build its own exchange and not allow the Federal government to dictate anymore than they already do when it comes to this mess they still call "reform". The entire exchange process is going to do only two things; raise the cost of insurance and provide a portal for entitlement dollars to flow to every Tom, Dick and Harry in America. That said, Idaho needs to create its own mouse trap and eliminate as many mandates as possible. Conservative will have an opportunity to bring ACA into focus in the near future when it is time to come up with all these Federal dollars for insurance subsidies...as it now stand 80% of Idaho household will effectively qualify. Wayne should be more worried about where the heck the government will come up with the money.

how do they get around

the law that was put into place a year or ago that forbids the Legislature or the Governor from appropriating funds on Obamacare?

Because federal law

Because federal law prevails.

Would anybody buy a used car or

Health care plan from Kevin Richert? You would have to buy the car before you could see if it would run. Note that Kevin does not, as far as I know, sell used cars for a living however he is trying to sell something, sight unseen for an amount that's going to cost a lot more money than your car payments. Keep hustling Kevin, but don't let anyone look under the hood, it's the Obamunist way.

Same old same old....

When you have nothing rational to say, resort to attacking the messenger and juvenile name-calling. Just as we survived eight years of your boy Bush (barely) so you will survive another term of President Obama. At least he was fairly elected.....

Kevin was hired

not elected. Try to keep up, you are living in the past and running backwards in the fast lane.

The path forward is to back off...

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Nothing happened and what if it did?

When folks attack the ACA

I wonder what they would propose to stop the tragedy of people dying due to no insurance or prevent the thousands who go broke every year due to exorbitant medical bills. The Republicans have had ample opportunity through the years to address these problems but have done nothing. Just get out of the way if you have nothing but tax cuts to offer.

People have been dying

since long before the stone age sweetpea. As tragic as death is, nobody gets out of life alive, even with medicare.

Typical Tude

Each on his own. Social Darwinism. I get it. You're on the wrong side of progress snowflake. Some of us want to move beyond the stone age. Sounds like you don't.

The Stone Age was not bad versus today....at least at Stone

Age you had a cave, women, water, some food, and maybe lived to 45 so you did not have to worry about Social Security, retirement, pensions, taxes, WWIII, or anything else....

you just lived and survived....

not too bad....