Nebraska Readies For Exchange Debate
Nebraska's state legislature is set to debate formation of a health insurance exchange as other states introduce measures that would extend exemptions on a controversial contraception rule in health reform to secular insurers and businesses, if they so choose.
The Associated Press/Houston Chronicle: Neb. Lawmakers To Debate Health Insurance Exchange
Lawmakers will begin work Tuesday on the state's version of health insurance reform as they take up two bills to create the Nebraska Health Benefit Exchange Act. The bills, which will come before the Banking, Commerce and Insurance Committee, are expected to get plenty of attention in the coming weeks as the Legislature passes its half-way point for the session. Sen. Rich Pahls of Boys Town and Sen. Jeremy Nordquist of Omaha each have introduced a bill that would meet the requirements of the federal Affordable Care Act, which calls for states to have an operating exchange by 2014 (Avok, 2/18).
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution: States Attack 'Obamacare' With Birth Control Bills
Republican lawmakers in a handful of states are opening another front in the war against President Obama's health care overhaul, seizing on the hot-button issue of birth control with bills that would allow insurance companies to ignore new federal rules requiring them to cover contraception. Measures introduced recently in Idaho, Missouri and Arizona would go beyond religious nonprofits and expand exemptions to secular insurers or businesses that object to covering contraception, abortion and sterilization. "In its present state, the health care bill is an affront to my religious freedoms," said Idaho Republican Rep. Carlos Bilbao, who is sponsoring the bill (Miller, 2/17).