Idaho Governor Butch Otter and Lieutenant Governor Brad Little stopped by the studios Wednesday.
KIDK Eyewitness News 3 anchor Todd Kunz had the chance to talk to them about their recent signing of an executive order on healthcare in the state of Idaho.
“Just recently, President Trump has relaxed or even done away with the mandate or the penalty for those that either choose not to have health insurance or have health insurance that doesn’t meet that Obamacare standard. Just a couple weeks ago, Jan. 5, governor, you signed an executive order in the state. Tell me exactly what does that do?” asked Kunz.
“Well, what we’re doing right now Todd, is we are accomplishing exactly what President Trump asked us to do last February when we met with the National Governors Association. He said, ‘you guys are better off running your state. You come up with your own solutions. Forget about Obamacare. We’re going to take away the mandate. We’re going to take away all the requirements that you had under Obamacare.’ So this is Trump’s initiative to return, turn, the states loose again. Where Brad and I want to get back to is exactly where we were in 2009, where we were the cheapest insurance in the United States, providing the greatest coverage and the greatest security to people you had health problems and needed insurance an so we began that process right after I got back from D.C. last February. And then I became ill in the summer and Brad took it over, as he normally does, for the next four months, and this is the plan that they came up with,” said Otter.
“OK. So what it basically does is open up more options for families. Lieutenant Governor Little, what would this do then to, say, for and Eastern Idaho family of four?” asked Kunz.
“We modeled that. And the reason we know is because there were people that were on these plans prior to the passage of the Affordable Care Act. And those plans are anywhere from 50% to 30%, here they would be about 50% less than what they are paying right now. And that was the impetus. We saw that Congress was not going to totally repeal it, and the freedom that the governor alluded to, that we got from the (Trump) Administration. This is the end of Obamacare for many families and small businesses in Idaho,” said Little.
“OK. Families watching this and, right now, they see it, when can they expect to see evidence of it?” asked Kunz.
“These products, we anticipate to be available in March,” replied Little.
“Dean Cameron, the director of the Department of Insurance, right now, is working on those standards and those rules and regulations. And by the way, he’s working with the insurance companies in Idaho, the free market in Idaho, to come up with these innovative plans,” said Otter.
“And they would be available through the state exchange? asked Kunz.
“To sell these news non-Affordable Care Act packages, they have to still provide products on the exchange. This will take care of the people with pre-existing conditions, a lot of people that have got problems. This is mainly for the young, for the healthy, the people that have been dropping off, 70,000, the people that have terminated their insurance because the cost has gone up so much,” replied Little.
“OK, so evidence of this will show up in March,” said Kunz.
“That’s right,” said Little.
“And the options are more available for those that might want to choose a health insurance provider or choose a different one or anything like that,” said Kunz.
“That’s correct,” said Little.
“OK, are there any obstacles between now and March?” asked Kunz.
“No,” said Little.
“This is a done deal?” asked Kunz
“I don’t believe so. I don’t see any because I took the Trump Administration, last February, at their word. They said, ‘go create your own stuff.’ That’s where we are,” replied Otter.
“OK. Lieutenant Governor Brad Little and Governor Butch Otter, thanks for being with us tonight,” said Kunz.
“Thank you,” said Otter.
“You bet Todd,” said Little.
“Take care,” said Kunz.