At least one Idaho official – the one responsible for insurance — and the federal government don’t see eye to eye on the health care reform law passed by Congress earlier this year.
Department of Insurance Director Bill Deal stated what he sees as the goals of the new federal plan in a department newsletter.
“The goal of health care reform is to maintain the viability of health insurance companies selling insurance in Idaho,” Deal wrote. “Nothing should be done to dismantle or replace the private health care system. The citizens of Idaho must have the ‘option to choose’ the insurance plan that best fits their needs.”
The goal Deal lists differs from the official objective written on President Barack Obama’s website:
“Health reform will make health care more affordable, make health insurers more accountable, expand health coverage to all Americans, and make the health system sustainable, stabilizing family budgets, the Federal budget, and the economy.”
The disparity in goals isn’t the biggest difference between the White House and the Idaho State Capitol about health reform. Idaho is one of more than a dozen states suing the federal government over the individual mandate to buy health insurance that is part of the law. The Department of Insurance also declined to be in a federally-backed insurance pool for people with pre-existing medical conditions.
Deal’s department manages the state-level response to the new health care law. He said that states should play a role in whatever changes come to the health care system. “State-based regulation allows each state to make decisions about health care that works best for its citizens,” he said in his newsletter.” The department’s website includes information on how the health care reform law will affect Idahoans.
More changes from the reform plan will go into effect September 23. Young adults will be able to stay on their parents’ insurance plans until they turn 26 and it will be harder for insurance companies to cancel health policies.
All of the reforms will go into effect by 2014, depending on the result of the states’ lawsuit and potential further action by Congress.