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A call to action

January 30, 2013
By Idaho Governor Butch Otter

Yesterday I submitted legislation to create a state-based health insurance exchange. I learned that your state legislators are hearing from constituents who would rather cede all control to the federal government to make decisions about your health care coverage.

It's time for Idahoans to tell their elected officials that they want Idaho to be actively engaged in the decision-making process by taking a seat at the table.

The Affordable Care Act requires states to make a decision between a state or federal exchange; and I choose Idaho. But I need your help to ensure Idahoans will continue to be the architects of our own destiny and determine how health care insurance coverage options will look in our state.

Here are three things you can do to protect Idaho's seat at the table.

1. Sign my petition to add your name to the list of Idahoans that choose a state-based health insurance exchange over a federal exchange here. Visit to learn about an Idaho Insurance Exchange and sign my petition to our State legislators urging them to choose an Idaho-based exchange over a federal exchange.

2. Call your legislators at (208) 332-1000 and let them know you support a state-based exchange.

3. E-mail your legislators at and tell them you support a state exchange.

Here are my top five reasons for creating a state-based health insurance exchange:

1. It is the best choice for Idaho.

I fought hard against the mandates and overreaching federal authority of Obamacare when I joined the lawsuit with other states, but despite my best efforts the law remains in place. After careful deliberation, I decided it was not in the best interests of the majority of Idaho's citizens to surrender full decision-making authority to the federal government by allowing a federal exchange to be established in Idaho.

2. It keeps the feds at bay.

Believing the state can ignore the requirements of Obamacare will result in a federal exchange being imposed on Idaho citizens. This would invite increased federal involvement in state affairs through further regulation of our insurance markets, enlargement of the federal bureaucracy and incurring federal fees for operating costs associated with running a federal exchange.

3. A federal exchange means higher costs.

It is in Idaho's best interests to implement a state-run exchange that would be funded at first through a series of federal grants. Going forward, exchange participants would fund the state-run exchange through user fees or assessments set by a local board. Keeping the exchange local would avoid the addition of a proposed 3.5-percent premium surcharge for policies purchased through a federal exchange to fund its operations.

4. State implementation of an exchange is consistent with our state's rights stance.

Ceding all control to the federal government means giving up any possibility of effectively pursuing local priorities regarding cost containment, quality control, regulatory control, accountability, job formation and a product tailored to our Idaho needs.

5. It's the law.

We may not agree with the Affordable Care Act or accept its mandates - I certainly don't. But elected officials are sworn to uphold the laws of our country. We are a nation of laws with established avenues for addressing our grievances. You all know how I feel about Obamacare. I will continue encouraging and supporting efforts by our Idaho congressional delegation and many others to repeal and replace the law.

But the fact remains that for now and for the foreseeable future it is the law. And as responsible elected officials we're sworn to uphold the rule of law - not just those laws we support.

Be sure to visit my website,, to learn the facts about a state-based insurance exchange.
Questions or comments about this letter? Click here to e-mail!