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Idaho Governor Encourages Lawmakers to Accept Health Insurance Exchange Funding

Idaho Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter and state lawmakers agree that Idaho would be foolish to pass up millions of dollars provided by the federal government to help the state set up a health insurance exchange, according to a Houston Chronicle report.

Under healthcare reform, states must set up health insurance exchanges by Jan. 2014 or invite the federal government to step in and take over the job. The exchanges would create a "marketplace" for small businesses and individuals to comparison shop for health insurance.

Idaho has a Sept. 30 deadline to apply for a $40 million federal grant to build an exchange tailored to the state. Idaho has joined a multi-state lawsuit against the federal healthcare reform law, and state lawmakers have been reluctant to accept money associated with healthcare reform. Despite this reluctance, however, Gov. Otter's insurance chief, Bill Deal, told an interim healthcare committee recently that rejecting funding for a health insurance exchange could force 2,500 insurance agents out of work.

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