by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Congressional Republicans failed to repeal or replace Obamacare. But one state has come up with a way to get around it. Idaho is dealing with Obamacare by just blowing it off. If it works, other states seem likely to follow.
Idaho’s Republican governor, Butch Otter, signed an executive order last year paving the way for non-Obamacare-compliant health insurance plans to be sold in his state, and Lt. Gov. Brad Little has since cobbled together what is sure to be the nation’s most controversial healthcare initiative. Their principal intention is to give the people of their state a way of avoiding Obamacare’s monstrous increases in insurance premiums. They want to put affordable insurance plans on the market again.
Obamacare’s spiraling premium increases have especially hurt middle-income consumers, who have had to pay the whole cost without getting the government subsidies that apply to poorer people. Those people have either gritted their teeth and bought expensive policies or, in many cases, chosen instead to break the law, pay the fine, and do without insurance. In Idaho, at least, they will be able to select from among plans that don’t fulfill all of Obamacare’s expensive criteria.
The scheme appears to flout federal law, so there was some doubt that insurers would be interested in participating at all. But … Blue Cross of Idaho stepped up and made it clear it would do so.