Idaho Governor Appoints Working Groups To Study Obamacare Questions

The office of Idaho Governor C.L. “Butch” Otter issued a  press release Friday, July 13 announcing the formation of two working study groups to “research and examine” Idaho’s options in light of the recent Supreme Court decision to uphold most of the provisions in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, or “Obamacare.”

One group, led by Bill Deal, director of the Idaho Department of  Insurance, will take up the insurance exchange question, and the other,  guided by Dick Armstrong, director of the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare, will focus on the ramifications of accepting or rejecting the Medicaid expansion.

In a recent statement announcing the formation of the study group Gov. Otter said:

” Our difficult and unavoidably controversial decisions about whether and how to implement the insurance exchange and Medicaid expansion parts of Obamacare must be based on the best information available. Despite the great work of Dick Armstrong and his team at the Department of Health and Welfare and Bill Deal and his staff at the Department of Insurance – who are working with independent consultants to analyze our options – clear and definitive data on these questions has been elusive. That’s why I’m putting together working groups to research and carefully examine how best to approach these issues based on facts rather than speculation and political woolgathering.”

Agreeing to serve on Director Armstrong’s Medicaid expansion working group are:

  • Senator Patti Anne Lodge of Huston
  • Senator Dan Schmidt of Moscow
  • Representative Fred Wood of Burley
  • Idaho Department of Correction Director Brent Reinke
  • Dan Chadwick, Idaho Association of Counties
  • Gooding County Commissioner Tom Faulkner
  • Dr. Ted Epperly, Family Medical Residency of Idaho
  • Dr. Bill Woodhouse, Family Medical Residency Program, Idaho State University
  • Steve Millard, Idaho Hospital Association
  • Susie Pouliot, Idaho Medical Association
  • Rev. Bill Roscoe, Boise Rescue Mission
  • Elizabeth Ambrose Gray, nurse practitioner
  • Denise Chuckovich, Idaho Primary Care Association
  • Stephen Weeg, Health West Inc.

Agreeing to serve on Director Deal’s health insurance exchange working group are:

  • Senator John Goedde of Coeur d’Alene
  • Representative John Rusche of Lewiston
  • Representative Lynn Luker of Boise
  • Zelda Geyer-Sylvia, Blue Cross of Idaho
  • Scott Kreiling, Regence Blue Shield
  • Dave Self, Pacific Source Health Plans
  • Tom Shores, independent health insurance broker
  • Kevin Settles, business owner
  • Dr. John Livingston, Boise physician
  • Alex LaBeau, Idaho Association of Commerce and Industry
  • Wayne Hoffman, Idaho Freedom Foundation
  • John Watts, Idaho Chamber Alliance

Governor Otter has asked the working groups to report their findings and recommendations to him this fall. He will outline more specific questions to be addressed, as well as expectations and deadlines in a directive to Armstrong and Deal by the end of July.