S-R: Phone Calls Threaten Idaho Health Insurance Exchange Board Members


When Governor C.L. "Butch" Otter's newly-appointed 19-member board, tasked with crafting Idaho's first-ever health insurance exchange, sat down in its first session April 22, members began sharing an all-too familiar story: They had been contacted, almost all anonymously, by a mysterious phone caller who threatened that they would soon be the subject of a lawsuit.

The Spokesman-Review's Betsy Russell reports that most of the board members brushed off the threat and some even had a good laugh.

"Our call was from Florida. So I haven't lost any sleep over it," said board member Kevin Settles, owner of Boise's Bardenay restaurant. Russell reports that Settles' staff received the call. "I thought it was hilarious."

The Spokesman-Review reports that each of the 19 members received a similar call.

"I got a call from a guy who did not want to identify what firm he worked for," said chairman Stephen Weeg, who added that his reaction was, "Wait a minute. We're just doing what the law requires."

And the board has little time to waste. In a recent Boise Weekly article (BW, News, "Now What?" April 10, 2013), we chronicle how the exchange needs to be up and running as early as this October and prepared to take on new customers by Jan. 1, 2014.

"So many people had their heads in the sand, hoping that something would change or delay this. That's not going to happen," said Rick Wagner, who specializes in health care reform as director of business development for Eide Bailly LLP. "Get your heads out of the sand."

Meanwhile the Idaho board will continue to meet today. One of their first pieces of business: interviewing and hiring an executive director to run the exchange.