Governor Otter touts his executive order on health care as a way to restore choice and competition to the insurance market, but his action couldn’t be further off base. Undoubtedly, the burden will be passed along to local taxpayers via Idaho’s County Indigent funds and Catastrophic Healthcare Cost Program. Reality shows us that — if you live long enough — you will experience the inevitable need for real comprehensive health care coverage. No one ever plans on getting diagnosed with cancer or having an accident, yet these things happen every day. This EO allows insurers to sell policies that do not meet the federally established set of essential health benefits, which means that policies are no longer required to cover things like maternity care, hospitalizations or prescription drugs. This is bad.
Otter’s EO will serve to segment the market into two distinct groups. There will be those with cheap insurance, or no insurance at all due to the repealed individual mandate … and then everyone else. People who require chronic or specialty care will now need to purchase an upper-tier policy for adequate benefits — which will cost more. Nonprofit patient groups oppose this action and so do I.
Rebecca Schroeder, Coeur d’Alene
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