States Move Forward With Creating Health Exchanges

In Minnesota, though, party-based challenges are emerging to Gov. Dayton's exchange plan. Also, Politico reports that, even though the health law allows for a federal exchange as a fallback plan if states don't develop their own, no funding exists for these federal activities. On the other hand, the law provides almost unlimited resources to support states' efforts.

Politico: HHS May Have To Get 'Creative' On Exchange
While sorting out the policy kinks in setting up a federal exchange, HHS must tackle another problem: There is no money to pay for it. A quirk in the Affordable Care Act is that while it gives HHS the authority to create a federal exchange for states that don’t set up their own, it doesn't actually provide any funding to do so. By contrast, the law appropriates essentially unlimited sums for helping states create their own exchanges (Feder, 8/16).

Sacramento Bee: California Interests Line Up To Shape State's Health Exchange
At a suburban Sacramento auditorium normally reserved for tax matters, the new California Health Benefit Exchange board attracted a who's who of health care lobbyists when it convened in April. Among those represented: Insurers, doctors, drug companies, low-income patients, small businesses, HMOs and information technology firms. It was a clear indication of the billions of dollars at stake based on how the state builds its new public health insurance marketplace (Yamamura, 8/16).

The Baltimore Sun: Executive Director Chosen To Lead Creation Of Health Exchanges
The board responsible for setting up Maryland's open insurance market under health care reform has hired an executive director. The Board of the Maryland Health Benefit Exchange said it has appointed Rebecca Pearce to the job (Walker, 8/17).

Georgia Health News: Panel Endorses Action On Health Exchanges
Jimmy Childre has a rare perspective on Georgia health care. He owns two auto dealerships and provides health insurance to the people employed at them. At the same time, he serves as CEO of a Sandersville hospital. ... Childre is a member of a state advisory committee, appointed by Gov. Nathan Deal, that voted Tuesday to develop recommendations for legislation that would create a Georgia insurance exchange, which is required under the health reform law (Miller, 8/26).

Atlanta Journal-Constitution: Group Exploring Options For Georgia Health Insurance Exchange
A group of health care experts, consumer advocates, lawmakers and state officials voted Tuesday to pursue legislative options for creating a Georgia health insurance exchange. Gov. Nathan Deal, while opposing the federal health care overhaul, appointed the committee in June to study whether the state should design its own insurance marketplace — a key part of the overhaul. The federal government will set up exchanges for states that opt out of running their own. … Even in opposition, Deal said earlier this year that it made sense to study Georgia-based solutions while the courts decided whether the law is unconstitutional. The group chose Tuesday to create a subcommittee that will focus on alternative plans if a portion or all of the law is thrown out by the courts (Williams, 8/16).

MinnPost: GOP Leaders Decry Dayton Plan For Health Exchange
Gov. Mark Dayton's plan to use a $4.2 million federal grant to help plan a state health insurance exchange came under fire today from Republican legislators. They even hinted at a lawsuit to stop the action (Kimball, 8/16).

(Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minn.) Star Tribune/Associated Press: Minn. Republicans Question Dayton's Authority To Move Ahead With Health Insurance Exchange
Republican lawmakers who oppose the federal health care overhaul are questioning Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton's authority to move ahead with a state health insurance exchange using dollars from Washington. Sen. David Hann said Tuesday that Dayton is bypassing the Legislature by taking a $4.2 million federal grant to design a major feature of the federal law (8/16).

(Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minn.) Pioneer Press: Minnesota Republicans Demand Role In State Insurance Exchange
Republican lawmakers said Tuesday that Gov. Mark Dayton lacks the authority to proceed with a federally funded health-insurance exchange for Minnesota, and they vowed to try to block the effort. GOP members generally oppose the idea of an exchange — an online marketplace that would allow consumers to compare and buy coverage — but if the state is going to have one, the Legislature must be involved in developing it, said Sen. David Hann, R-Eden Prairie, chairman of the Senate Health and Human Services Committee (Belden, 8/16). 

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