Idaho’s Latest Health Exchange Bill Prevents Gun Data Collection, Adds Legislative Oversight

By Emilie Ritter Saunders

Idahoans who want to weigh in on the latest health insurance exchange proposal will be lining up at the Capitol starting at 6:30 a.m. Thursday. The public hearing in the House Health and Welfare committee starts at 7:00.

The revamped bill to create a state-based online insurance marketplace, or exchange, would give the Legislature more oversight of the quasi-governmental entity.

It’s something lawmakers requested as it was debated in the Senate and moved to the House. The new bill would give legislators three seats on the insurance exchange oversight board, and it more explicitly calls for annual reports to lawmakers.

The House version of the exchange bill also adds language that says the insurance exchange can’t ask customers about their use, ownership, possession or storage of any firearms or ammunition.

The governor’s office says that was added to quell concerns of some House legislators who feared gun data might be collected under the new online marketplace. The governor’s office doesn’t believe that kind of information would be collected.

The new exchange legislation also more clearly spells out requirements to make board meetings open to the public, and when the state could shut-down the online exchange.

You can find a line-by-line comparison of the original health insurance exchange bill with the latest version online at stateimpact.npr.org/idaho.

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