Guest Opinions

The end of Obamacare in Idaho is here

Idaho Lt. Gov. Brad Little, with Gov. Butch Otter listening, speaks to reporters about a health insurance executive order the two unveiled Jan. 5 at the Capitol.
Idaho Lt. Gov. Brad Little, with Gov. Butch Otter listening, speaks to reporters about a health insurance executive order the two unveiled Jan. 5 at the Capitol. AP

When President Donald Trump signed into law the removal of the individual mandate, many Idahoans were no longer forced to purchase overpriced insurance. Idaho is leading the nation and taking bold action to end Obamacare by forcing the federal government out of our health care and giving Idahoans more choices. Gov. Butch Otter and I signed an executive order to do just that.

I don’t have to tell you what has been happening to health care costs here in Idaho. If you are like my family and friends, your premiums skyrocketed by around 30 percent just this year, and your coverage did not get any better.

Liberals in Washington, D.C., held the incorrect belief that they knew best and could unilaterally reform a very complicated system. They failed.

Before Obamacare, Idahoans had some of the most affordable health care options in the United States. Obamacare’s one-size-fits-all, top-down approach fails to recognize health care is much different in Boise than it is in Boston, and is true even closer to home with differences from Murphy to Moscow.

We are the fastest-growing economy in the nation. It’s because of these bold conservative solutions that we lead the nation in wage growth and have a record number of Idahoans working. By eliminating the failed Obamacare policy experiment we can retain Idaho’s leading position on affordability and access to health care.

That is why Gov. Otter and I signed this executive order, to broaden health care options for Idahoans. Unfortunately, Congress failed to repeal Obamacare. But ultimately, the best solution for us is an Idaho solution. With this action, we are rebuilding the solid foundation we had in Idaho before Obamacare and making our health care system even better.

A couple of examples of estimated savings: Take a family of six from Rexburg that receives no federal subsidy; currently they pay $1,950 per month. With our state solution, they could be looking at paying less than $975 a month, a 50 percent savings. A single parent of two from Lewiston who gets no subsidy is currently paying more than $1,200 per month under Obamacare. With our new Idaho solution, he or she could be paying less than $850 a month. That’s a 30 percent savings and money each month back in the family budget.

This executive order effectively ends Obamacare for many Idahoans. We are now incentivizing choice and affordability in health care. With the positive first step of repealing the Obamacare penalty forcing Americans to buy health insurance, Idaho is taking the next step and finding the right health care solutions to keep costs down and increase coverage options. It is important to point out that Idahoans who want to stay on the state exchange can, and those who want another option will get that too. This allows the best choices for you and your family.

This executive order allows for plans directed to Idahoans who have been priced out of the health insurance marketplace. It supports the middle-class Idahoan who doesn’t qualify for a federal subsidy, and with the continuing cost explosion cannot afford insurance on their own. Allowing Idahoans greater and more affordable options for individuals and their families is the right thing to do.

Idahoans best know how to improve our health care system. We did it before and we are doing it again.

Little is Idaho’s lieutenant governor and a candidate for governor.