BOISE, Idaho (AP) — A bill proposed by Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter to create a state-run health insurance exchange has cleared an important legislative hurdle. The Senate Commerce and Human Resources Committee agreed unanimously Tuesday to introduce legislation to create Idaho's own online marketplace for health and dental insurance products. Otter's Chief of Staff David Hensley told lawmakers an Idaho-crafted exchange is the best way to preserve the state's decision making ability and protect residents when it comes to making personal health care choices.

The bill calls for creating a 16-member board to oversee the exchange. The board would be appointed by the governor and include consumer advocates, insurance officials and small business representatives. Hensley emphasized the exchange would not be a new government agency and be required to function without state funding.