You’d hope that a newspaper editorial page wouldn’t just make up stuff, but the Lewiston Tribune did just that Feb. 9. Said the paper, “If the state is in charge, administrative fees would have cost someone $4 to $7 a month. Leave it to the feds and the costs rise to $12 to $15 a month.” Interesting, if true. The dollar amounts keep changing. When the governor’s task force on the insurance exchange was meeting, the panel was told that the federal exchange was less expensive than the state exchange. Now, the reverse is being said. But the editorial speaks of rates as if they were carved into stone.
But that is the least of the editorial’s issues. The editorial claims that policies paid under a federal exchange will come at a national average. Not so. The rates will be set based on conditions within state boundaries, not based on some national average. Likewise, when the paper says Idaho insurance carriers will find themselves frozen out of a federal insurance exchange, that’s just fantasy. Any insurer will have to comply with state insurance laws, which, of course, favors Idaho insurers.
Finally, the editorial claims, “Health care providers who once resolved claims by calling a local representative—or even meeting face to face—will struggle with agents based in regional or national offices.” That contention is so out of step with reality; even exchange proponents don’t use it as a talking point.
Until now, the discussion of the differences between a state and federal insurance exchange has been a contest between myth and fact. The Lewiston Tribune opens a new line of discussion: pure make believe.