An advisor to Governor Branstad says the “practical reality” is that a new health insurance exchange in Iowa will be jointly run by the State of Iowa and the federal government.
“Because of the nature of insurance markets, there’s a level of partnership that’s going to have to occur,” says Branstad advisor Michael Bousselot.
Last week the governor told federal officials he wants to establish the exchange, where small businesses and individuals in Iowa can search for health care insurance, but Governor Branstad also criticized the exchanges, which are required under the Affordable Care Act, or “ObamaCare.” Bousselot says the governor wants to tailor the exchange to fit Iowa, but doesn’t have enough information yet to “fully commit” to the project.
“We’re a state that is certainly different from Virginia out east or even states like Wyoming or Colorado out west,” Bousselot says. “We have a unique set of history and, really, some unique problems facing us.”
David Lyons, Branstad’s former insurance commissioner, says there must be a state and federal “collaboration” on the health care exchanges where uninsured will go to shop for coverage, and get subsidies to buy insurance.
“Change isn’t moving forward just because of the legislation,” Lyons says. “Tt’s also moving forward because of the economics. The pace of the increases we’re seeing cannot be maintained for individuals. It’s threatening the competitiveness of industry.”
Lyons has partnered with a former Wellmark Blue Cross Blue Shield executive to establish a non-profit called “Co-Opportunity Health” which is to be a member-owned health care coop for residents of Iowa and Nebraska. Lyons and Bousselot made their comments during a joint appearance on Iowa Public Radio.