Progress Check On States And Health Insurance Exchanges

With Democrats regaining control of the New Hampshire House, lawmakers could revisit a GOP decision not to build a health insurance exchange. In the meantime, Oregon, California and Missouri officials seek to clarify their options.

The Associated Press: N.H., Feds Could Partner On Health Exchange
New Hampshire could revisit a state law requiring the federal government to run a health insurance exchange and take on a bigger role through a partnership. State Republicans opposed implementing the federal health care overhaul law. They helped turn back $1 million in federal money to be used for planning and passed a law banning the state from establishing an exchange to serve as a marketplace for consumers to find insurance (Love, 11/26).

The Oregonian: Public Comment Sought On Rules For Oregon Health Insurance Exchange
State officials are holding a hearing Wednesday to receive public comment on rules for the state's health insurance exchange -- essentially an online marketplace for consumers called for by federal health reforms. Starting October 2013, the state's exchange, called Cover Oregon, will offer standardized plans to help consumers choose between carriers; the plans will be rated bronze, silver, gold and platinum. Some consumers will qualify for tax credits to offset premiums (Budnick, 11/26).

California Healthline: Exchange Official: Multistate Plans Not Same As Public Option
How and when federally overseen multistate plans develop in California's health insurance exchange is still anybody's guess, but no matter what shape they take and when they arrive, they won't serve as a surrogate public option, according to a California exchange official. "This is not a public option," said Andrea Rosen, interim health plan management director for Covered California. "These are private carriers contracting with the federal government. In a true public option, the government would be the insurer. That's not the case here," Rosen said. The Affordable Care Act calls for the federal government to offer two multistate health insurance plans through state exchanges. To be eligible, insurers must be licensed in all 50 states. At least one of the insurers must be not-for-profit, according to the ACA (Lauer, 11/26).

St. Louis Beacon: Legislative Divides May Sink State-Based Health Insurance Exchanges
On the surface, President Barack Obama’s re-election seemed to be a death knell to opponents of the Affordable Care Act, and the measure's mandates for health-insurance exchanges. In some other states, some prominent GOP officials -- such as Florida Gov. Rick Scott -- seem to see the writing on the wall and have been softening their opposition to certain provisions of the ACA, more commonly known as "Obamacare." But so far, not in Missouri. In fact, some Missouri Republicans -- notably state House Speaker Tim Jones, R-Eureka, and others in the state Senate -- are firming up their resistance when it comes to the state setting up a health-insurance exchange, an internet portal aimed at helping uninsured Americans purchase health insurance at lower rates (Rosenbaum, 11/26).

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