State Lawmakers Consider Bills To Establish Health Exchanges

Also in the news, data indicate the federal government will ultimately be running the insurance marketplaces for the states that have the highest rates of uninsured residents.

The Associated Press: Health Exchange Bill Runs Into Trouble In House
A measure to establish a state-operated health insurance exchange stumbled in the [New Mexico] House on Thursday after critics objected that the proposal would overly regulate medical coverage plans offered to consumers. The bill initially failed in the House on a 39-30 vote - with eight Democrats opposing it. However, the measure was immediately revived and set aside, which will give majority Democrats a possible chance for another vote at a later date if they can round up more support or after making changes to meet some of the concerns of critics, including Republican Gov. Susana Martinez (Massey,2/28).

The Associated Press: Michigan House OKs $31M Grant For Health Exchange
Rejecting pressure from conservatives, the Republican-led Michigan House voted Thursday to spend a $31 million federal grant for an online health insurance marketplace called for by the federal health care law. The 78-31 vote clears the way for the Senate to vote next week (Eggert, 2/28).

CQ Healthbeat: Federal Exchange To Handle States With Most Uninsured, Data Shows
At a time when federal officials are struggling to find the money to implement the health care law, it's clear from new data that it will be up to them to run the new exchange marketplaces in the states with the most uninsured Americans. New data from Enroll America, established to boost coverage levels under the health law, show that 13 states account for two-thirds of the uninsured population (Reichard, 2/28).

In other state-level news related to the health law's implementation -

The Associated Press: California Lawmakers Move Forward On Health Insurance Law
California lawmakers took the first step Thursday toward passing new consumer protections, such as guaranteeing coverage even with pre-existing conditions, under the federal health care overhaul. Democrats in both houses of the Legislature passed bills dealing with individual insurance regulations that would prevent insurers from discriminating and overcharging customers. The bills, ABx1 2 by Assemblyman Richard Pan, D-Sacramento, and SBx1 2 by Sen. Ed Hernandez, D-West Covina, also seek to ensure quality health coverage (3/1).

The Associated Press: Panel Backs Health Coverage For Part-Time Workers
Members of a Florida House panel reluctantly agreed Thursday that they would rather extend health coverage to part-time employees than pay a roughly $300 million fine under President Barack Obama's federal health care law. Residents and businesses are required to purchase health insurance under the Affordable Care Act or face a fine, and the state of Florida, which employs roughly 170,000 people, is also included in that mandate (Kennedy, 2/28).

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