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Idaho’s GOP Governor Extols Exchange ‘Run By Idahoans For Idahoans’

Idaho Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter, a Republican, said he still hopes the federal health law gets repealed.

But with some of the law’s biggest changes taking effect in less than six weeks, he sounded like a proud papa Tuesday in announcing the name of his state’s new online health insurance marketplace: Your Health Idaho.

Idaho is the only state under complete Republican control that is running its own marketplace, also called an exchange. “I wanted the state to do this so we could fashion it to what we needed in Idaho, rather than deal with a multi-state federal system,” Otter said at a press conference in the capitol in Boise. “My bottom line is this: I am still against Obamacare. … I have had a philosophical problem from the get go and continue to have that problem.”

But in a message about the state’s online marketplace, Otter makes no mention that it is a byproduct of Obamacare established with federal funding under the law.

“The implementation of this state-based health insurance exchange has required the collaboration and energy of multiple outstanding Idahoans,” he wrote. “I commend the efforts of all those involved in the development of Your Health Idaho for building a consumer-friendly exchange run by Idahoans for Idahoans.”

Idaho officials said the Idaho marketplace will be run more cheaply than those administered by the federal government.

The Idaho exchange will impose a 1.5 percent surcharge on policies sold in the marketplace to pay for administrative costs. The federally operated exchanges will have a 3.5 percent surcharge.