Idaho faces off with federal government over ObamaCare restrictions

Americans are dropping health insurance because it’s too expensive, the lieutenant governor of Idaho said after the federal government struck down an alternative in his state to ObamaCare.

“Health insurance, not only in Idaho but all over the country, has gone from a car payment to a mortgage payment,” Idaho Lt. Gov. Brad Little, a Republican, told FOX Business’ Stuart Varney during an interview on Tuesday. “And as a result, people of their own volition are dropping health insurance. And that’s not good for the system.”Idaho Gov. Butch Otter issued an executive order in early January seeking to roll back some of the provisions of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), but the federal government struck it down, warning that the decision to allow some health insurance companies to offer plans that didn’t comply with ObamaCare was illegal. Although Republicans repeatedly tried to repeal and replace ObamaCare, large portions of it remain intact. Congress eliminated the individual mandate, the requirement that Americans purchase health insurance or pay a fine, in the 2017 Tax Act, but that move won’t go into effect until 2019.

As a result of the partial dismantlement, Idaho lawmakers proposed a state-based plan that strived to make insurance less costly. The plan stipulated that companies did not have to comply with the ACA, including charging more for pre-existing conditions or covering a certain minimum of health benefits, such as maternity and newborn care.

Little defended the plan, saying the Trump administration and the Department of Health and Human Services had signaled to Idaho that, given the failure of a wholesale repeal of ObamaCare, the state could investigate new alternatives.

“We believe that the correspondence we got from Health and Human Services was premature because if you look at the entirety of what we do with health insurance in Idaho, it’s vastly superior to all these people being priced out,” he said.