Reminding Idahoans that he was still staunchly opposed to Obamacare, Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter helped officially launch the Gem state's new brand and portal for a state-run health insurance exchange.
Dubbed Your Health Idaho, the online marketplace will begin navigating Idahoans through the web-based marketplace on Tuesday, Oct. 1, and will help secure coverage to begin in January 2014.
"Governor, I promised that I would always remember that our mission would be to create an insurance exchange that was designed by Idahoans, for Idahoans," Idaho Health Insurance Exchange Executive Director Amy Dowd told Otter at a noon gathering at the governor's Statehouse office. "All the plans [soon to be available through the website] have been certified by the Idaho Department of Insurance and meet minimum coverage requirements."
Dowd stressed that the Idaho-based exchange would be "leaner, more streamlined and simpler" than a federal-based exchange.
"More importantly, we'll be cheaper than the federal marketplace," she said.
Otter took note of last February's marathon debates on the floors of the Idaho House and Senate, which ended up splitting party loyalties but through a bipartisan majority, ultimately passed and became law.
"This is a really, really good example of how parties can come together for the common good of the citizens of our state," said House Democratic Leader Rep. John Rusche. "Thank you again, Governor, for your leadership on this."
Otter quickly added that he was not a fan of the Affordable Care Act, which requires the marketplace.
"I had a philosophical problem with Obamacare from the get-go," said Otter. "But I'm satisfied that Idaho is doing its level-best to be organic in determining what's best for Idaho."
Otter said he continued to have ongoing dialogue regarding the exchange at the height of the 2012 presidential election and the U.S. Supreme Court ruling which upheld the Affordable Care Act.
"We asked ourselves, 'What if Obama is rejected? 'What if Obamacare is defunded?' Well, I'm all right with that. But that doesn't absolve Idaho from making a difference. My bottom line was always this: I'm still against Obamacare but I think we can do a better job."
You can access the new web portal here.