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Don’t believe praise uttered by candidates about the insurance exchange

Don’t believe praise uttered by candidates about the insurance exchange

Wayne Hoffman
April 23, 2014
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April 23, 2014

It's election season, so it is to be expected that candidates for office will say things about the state insurance exchange that the Legislature and the governor created in 2013. Interesting things that are not necessarily true.

I read a statement from one candidate on a blog post that claimed that the state was triumphantly stopping Planned Parenthood and ACORN from participating as exchange navigators.

Such a statement discounts the fact that the state has always felt free to regulate occupations and the federal government has noted that the state, in creating an exchange, didn't surrender its ability to do so now, particularly in the case of a government-created occupation such as an "exchange navigator." The Legislature just chose not to, and it makes me believe it did so hoping that you would never find out that there was a second alternative—one, by the way, that has been adopted in states without a state insurance exchange.

I saw a candidate the other day claim that Idaho's creation of a state insurance exchange was good because the state has kept exchange fees to 1.5 percent instead of the federal government's rate of 3.5 percent. But the candidate failed to mention that the 1.5 percent rate is the rate that's effective until the state actually has to make operations self-sufficient, and there is considerable doubt about whether the current rate will survive.

Indeed, the decision to raise the rate is left entirely to the insurance exchange board, not the Legislature. Try to hide your shock when the rate increases.

Other distortions have been presented by candidates about the exchange, but for lack of space, I'll skip to my favorite: "A state exchange was a conservative move."

Folks, there is not a single conservative organization in the country that believes the creation of a state insurance exchange was right. Not Idaho Freedom Foundation, the Heritage Foundation, the Cato Institute. No one.

I recognize it is up to candidates to try to sell their positions to potential voters. And mine is to present information so that at least you understand that there is another point of view.

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