Some Idaho business leaders are getting behind a proposal to create a private, nonprofit version of a health insurance exchange instead of a state-run or quasi-governmental one.
A task force assembled by Gov. Butch Otter heard Tuesday from Jack Rovner, attorney and principal of Chicago's The Health Law Consultancy, about creating the nonprofit exchange through the state's executive branch. The option would allow Idaho to meet a November deadline to file a blueprint with the Department of Health and Human Services, Rovner said.
Such an exchange would be "a free-market solution" funded by user fees or other private revenue-generating means instead of state funds, he said.
"If Idaho wants to help businesses and consumers in the complicated arena of health care policy, then a nonprofit corporation offers the most flexibility and local control," said Dave Self, senior vice president of PacificSource Health Plans and a member of the governor's task force, in a news release Wednesday.
Alex LaBeau, the president of the Idaho Association of Commerce and Industry, agreed.
"Idaho has an opportunity now to create an Idaho-managed nonprofit corporation to quickly get ahead of the federal governments one-size-fits-all solution," said LaBeau, a member of the task force. "It makes good economic sense for the state of Idaho, the citizens and the businesses impacted by this over the long run."
The nonprofit corporation running the exchange could be governed by a board comprising Idahoans from across the spectrum, including health care entities, brokers, agents, consumers and businesses, said the news release, which was issued by the Idaho Association of Health Plans.
Exchanges are marketplaces for individuals and small businesses to comparison shop for health insurance plans. An online portal is a major component of exchanges. The federal government intends to create an exchange for Idaho if the state decides not to build its own.