Idaho officials have submitted an application to the federal government for financial aid on constructing a health insurance exchange in the state. Millions of dollars could be headed for the state if the application is approved. Much of the money will be used to plan and build exchange program, but any efforts will first need the approval of the state’s Legislature, which has been slow to warm to the overarching federal health care law. Idaho legislators have only approved of submitting the application for federal funds, thus far.
Idaho has been working toward an insurance exchange despite the opposition of Republican legislators. Earlier this year, the state refused more than $2.5 million in federal money that would have helped with an exchange. Legislators citied the Affordable Care Act’s controversial and sometimes dubious provisions as justification for the refusal.
State insurance regulators are now seeking more than $30 million to help build an insurance exchange and bring the state’s current regulations up to the standard of new federal laws. Governor C.L. Otter is keen to seek financial aid from the federal government for a program that it has deemed mandatory for all states in the country. Whether the money will ever be used, however, is entirely up to the state Legislature.
If Idaho does not have a working health insurance exchange in place by 2014, the federal government will take charge and establish and exchange in the state itself.