The Affordable Care Act has been controversial since the day it was introduced by President Barack Obama, and it's strongest opposition can be seen in conservative states like Idaho. Governor Butch Otter and the state of Idaho were the first to sue the government over the ACA.
However recent polls conducted by several organizations are proving otherwise, showing a change of heart, or a strong sense of big government opposition. A survey conducted by GS Strategy Group of Boise, run by Republican Greg Stimple, for the Idaho Hospital Association found that 74.4% of 500 likely voters believe the state should move ahead with creating a state-based exchange.
"The results showed that across ideological party, and geographic cross tabulation, Idahoans want a state solution as opposed to a system operated solely by the federal government," said Government Relations Vice President Toni Lawson of the Idaho Hospital Association.
A poll conducted by the American Association for Retired Persons of Idaho showed similar results, finding that registered voters ranging in ages from 30 to 64 support a state-based health insurance exchange, with 77% of republicans, 78% democrats and 73% of Independents backing the measure. AARP Idaho Director of Communications Randy Simon says he believes the AARP poll signifies a lack of support for a federal-based health insurance exchange.
"It is law and whether we like it or not, we're going to have a state health insurance exchange in Idaho," said Simon. "It's either going to be state run or run by the Feds, and I think that Idahoans value a health insurance exchange that is run by Idahoans for Idahoans."
Executive Director Heidi Low of the Idaho Healthcare Alliance is helping lead the fight to get a state-based health insurance exchange approved. She says they're backing the ACA to keep the power of the health exchange close to home.
"The federal exchange, they've already said it's going to be 3.5% premium tax on the premiums that are purchased in the exchange," said Low. "If we do it at the state level we get to decide how we want to charge and what we're going to charge. In doing a state exchange versus a federal exchange we want to retain as many jobs as we can here in Idaho and then also preserving states' rights."
If the state health insurance exchange fails to pass in the state legislature, the federal government will step in to institute a plan for Idaho. For a complete breakdown of the findings by the AARP Idaho please see the link below.