Gov. Otter's executive order aims to add state health care options

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TWIN FALLS, Idaho (KMVT/KSVT) Idaho leaders have decided they want to try and take healthcare into their own hands.

Idaho Governor C.L. “Butch” Otter and Lieutenant Governor Brad Little signed an executive order that positions Idaho to create its own health care plans.

“Eight years ago we had the vase affordable health insurance for individuals and small families,” Little said.

The executive order aims on building off of the state’s existing exchange. Idaho decided to create an exchange called Your Health Idaho in 2013 where Idaho families and small business can go to compare and purchase health insurance on the federal exchange.

“This is a natural progression after that,” Little said.

Little said they plan on providing state sponsored plans with the same healthcare providers as are currently on the Affordable Health Care Act exchange. He anticipates that plans could cut premium costs by 30 to 50 percent each month.

“We are trying to implement back into our system more affordable health insurance,” Little said.

Little said the cuts could be greater for people in better health.

In a release announcing the executive order Little called the ACA, or Obamacare, a “federal disaster.” And this was a step towards eliminating it.

Your Health Idaho saw more than 100,000 people enroll in ACA plans for 2018. In a statement last month, they speculated that even with the repeal of the individual mandate, people would continue enrolling.

Little said while some services resulting from the order may be available starting as early as March, he didn’t think many people would switch if they were already enrolled for 2018. He also said the new exchange would also likely still have ACA plans.

“We’re just trying to get people back in the pool, because the more people we have in the pool it should lower the cost of healthcare to everybody,” Little said.

The Blue Cross of Idaho released a statement about the order shortly after it was announced.

The statement read in part: “Blue Cross of Idaho is committed to the health and wellness of those who live in Idaho, and we fully support this new state-led direction, as it will create more choices for consumers during these times of uncertainty.”