KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Idaho Governor Appears ‘Open’ To State-Run Exchange, Texas Governor Is Not

Idaho Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter says it makes sense for his state to accept federal funds and set up its own exchange. But Texas Gov. Rick Perry stands firm in his opposition.

The Hill: Idaho Governor Open To State-Run Exchange
Another Republican governor seems to be willing to let his state accept federal funds for an insurance exchange. Idaho Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter said it makes sense for Idaho to accept federal grant money and set up its own exchange, The Associated Press reported Monday. The federal government has the power to set up exchanges in any states that don’t establish their own (Baker, 8/22). 

The Associated Press/Houston Chronicle: Lawmakers, Otter: Take Federal Money For Exchange
Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter and many state lawmakers agree: Idaho would be shortsighted to pass up millions of federal dollars to help set up health insurance exchanges, because spurning the cash could mean Washington would impose a plan on Idaho that puts many private insurance agents out of business. Under the disputed health care overhaul passed by Congress in 2010, Idaho and other states must set up health insurance exchanges by January 2014 — or the federal government could intervene. The exchanges are aimed at offering a choice of plans to businesses or individuals who can pool together under common rules to boost competition and control costs (8/22).

The Hill: Report: Perry Would Veto Texas Bill Setting Up Health Care Exchanges
Texas Gov. Rick Perry blocked fellow Republicans in the state legislature from implementing a key piece of the health care reform law, but said he'd do it through an executive order if necessary, according to an Associated Press report. Perry threatened to veto a bill, sponsored by Republican state Rep. John Zerwas, that would have created an insurance exchange in Texas. The exchanges are at the center of health care reform, and the federal government wants states to run their own rather than rely on a federal fallback (Baker, 8/22).

Meanwhile, private exchanges are again in the news —

MedCity News/MinnPost: Private Health Exchange Concept Gathering Steam In Minnesota
Offering employees more choice through a private health exchange, which is based on a defined contribution approach to health insurance, appears to be gathering steam in Minnesota. Doherty Employer Services, a Minneapolis human resources outsourcing firm announced Friday that starting on Sept. 1, the company will offer the My Plan by Medica private health exchange program to its business customers. ... Medica is one of the largest health insurance companies in Minnesota (Parmar, 8/22).

Earlier, related story from KHN: Some Employers Already Sending Workers To Exchanges to Buy Health Insurance (Appleby, 4/29). 

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