Due to some excellent reporting by the Idaho Reporter, we learn that the Idaho Department of Health & Welfare has given $385,000 to the insurance exchange to cover operating expenses and start-up costs. The promise of “free federal money” used by promoters during the legislative session has yet to materialize.
According to the conservative news website, the decision to transfer funds was made unilaterally by the Department’s director, Dick Armstrong. He moved the money earlier this month, in apparent violation of the state law creating the insurance exchange.
The enabling legislation, narrowly approved by the Legislature this last winter, made it clear in two different sections of the law that no state funds would be used in running the ObamaCare Exchange:
IC 41-6105 (2)(a): “The exchange shall be financially self-supporting and shall not request any financial support from the state … or encumber state assets.”
IC 41-6105 (2)(j): “The state of Idaho shall not be liable for any obligations of the exchange ….”
After operating with the money for nearly a month, the Board of the Exchange formally requested an Attorney General’s opinion on the transfer last week, after the Idaho Reporter story went public.
Sen. Dean Cameron, the Legislature’s dominating authority on budgetary matters, seemed relatively unconcerned about the apparent violation of state law – not to mention the appropriation process itself – but did acknowledge to the Idaho Reporter that other legislators had expressed concern.
We encourage you to read the Idaho Reporter story for yourself and talk with your local legislators about the matter.