Healthcare Reform Expert: "Now is the time to figure this out."

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Heads were spinning at the Boise Centre today as an expert of health care reform separated fact from fiction.

Joy Wilson is Senior Counsel and Health Policy Director for the National Council of State Legislatures. It's her job to cull the "need to know" stuff from the mountains of legislation and new tax code that accompany the Affordable Care Act. Wilson was a guest speaker at the 64th annual taxpayers conference, sponsored by the Associated Taxpayers of Idaho.

"What's it going to cost?" she asked. "Nobody knows and if they tell you they know, they're not telling you the truth. There are plenty of things that we're pretty certain will increase or decrease cost but we can't tell you what the cost will be. That will be up to individuals, to companies and to state lawmakers."

Simply put, come 2014 health coverage will be mandatory, with very few objections.

"There's been a bit of talk about the religious objection," said Wilson. "But it would require an individual to file multiple forms each year and they have to prove that their belief system would keep them from health care."

Wilson addressed the much-discussed health exchanges, also required by 2014. The exchanges will be "one-stop" shopping centers, administered by states, for individuals and small businesses to purchase health insurance coverage. The exchanges would not administer the policy but they would contract directly with insurers.

Wilson said because of Idaho's size, "It may make sense for you to dance with a neighbor. Having a shared exchange would allow you to minimize rates from carriers."

A couple hundred heads were shaking near the end of Wilson's presentation.

"Now is the time to figure this out," she warned.