Idaho Governor At Odds With Voters Over Health Insurance Exchange

Gem State Voters Say They Want State, Not Feds, to Implement & Oversee Exchange with Strong Consumer Voice

BOISE, Idaho, Feb. 1, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- With Governor C.L. "Butch" Otter's support for Idaho establishing a state-based health insurance exchange waning, a move that could lead to the federal government establishing a cookie cutter exchange in the state, he's now put himself at odds with Idaho voters over the issue.  Most Idaho voters ages 30-64 want the state, not the federal government, to develop and oversee a health insurance exchange with a strong state consumer voice, according to a recent AARP Idaho survey.

The AARP survey found that just under 9% of registered voters in Idaho support a federal government agency overseeing a health insurance exchange in Idaho, while 27% thought a state agency should and over 50% said a representative group of consumers, insurance companies, small businesses and government should do it.  73% of voters in the age groups support the creation of state-based health insurance exchange.

The exchange would set up an insurance marketplace, and help individuals and small businesses find more affordable health insurance plans, allowing them to get the same deal large businesses do when it comes to health insurance costs. 

"There's been a whole lot of talk about what's good for Idaho businesses in this debate, how about we also start talking about what's good for Idaho residents and what they want?" said Ralph Yaniz, Regional Vice President for AARP.  "Idahoans are struggling to pay for their health insurance, they want options to get a better deal and for their state to be at the table with a strong consumer voice to make it happen."

53% of Idaho residents who have health insurance say paying the monthly out-of-pocket medical expenses is difficult, with nearly one quarter (22%) saying it is extremely or very difficult.

"Idahoans are looking for leadership when it comes to tackling their health insurance woes, not more politics and posturing from the statehouse," added Yaniz.  "Most Idaho voters we surveyed want to take an Idaho approach to a health insurance exchange, not a federal one."

In addition to being strongly supported by Idaho voters, a state-based health insurance exchange in Idaho is also supported by business, insurance and consumer groups.

The full survey can be found online at:

AARP is Idaho's largest membership organization with over 180,000 members.
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