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Local Experts Weigh In On State Health Insurance Exchange

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By Brittany Cooper

Twin Falls, Idaho (KMVT-TV) Governor Otter has said, "do nothing and be at the federal government's mercy...or play the cards we've been dealt." On Tuesday, the governor chose an active role and opted for a state–based insurance exchange.

Even though the governor has opposed the Affordable Health Care Act or Obamacare, he felt this was the best option for the state.

The health insurance exchange is an online marketplace for individuals and small businesses who buy health insurance. It took some time, but Otter's decision on the exchange came this week.

Dr. Russ Tremayne, College of Southern Idaho Associate History Professor says, "so this is the part of politics of the last stand against health reform sponsored by Obama at the state level, to not implement it and several governors are going to refuse. 'Butch' Otter has been in that camp."

Professor Tremayne adds it came down to two fronts, federalism and healthcare.

"Federalism that is the states rights, healthcare is something the states take care of, so from that perspective, they're opposed to the federal government intervening and I think philosophically, the state Republican party is opposed to government supported healthcare."

While most Americans can still get insurance through their workplace, the exchange is available to individuals and companies with 50 or less employees. But there are some questions left to be answered...

For organizations such as the College of Southern Idaho's Office on Aging, there's a lot of uncertainty in the air when it comes to the health insurance exchange

Office on Aging Director Jim Fields adds, "my issue is are we going to try and control what the health exchange is going to be or are we going to have a plan created by federal employees that will tell us how to do it from Washington....all I can say, we'll wait and find out."

Lawmakers will take up the matter at the upcoming session. The Health Insurance Exchange must be open for enrollment by October 1, 2013.


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