Vt., Okla. Lawmakers Mull Creating Health Insurance Exchanges
Lawmakers in Vermont and Oklahoma are the latest to grapple with creating a state health insurance exchange. In Vermont, the governor is defending his proposal for an exchange for small businesses while Oklahoma lawmakers are mulling creating their own so the federal government doesn't do it for them.
The Associated Press/Houston Chronicle: Vt. Governor Defends Health Care Exchange
With the Vermont House poised to debate the next big step on the road to what Gov. Peter Shumlin hopes will be single-payer health care, the governor on Wednesday defended his proposed requirement that employees of small businesses get health insurance through a state-backed insurance market known as a health care exchange. Shumlin said about 96,000 Vermonters working for the 16,000 employers in the state with payrolls of 50 or fewer workers would be able to compare health plans, their benefits and costs on a website. The companies would have the option of continuing to offer employment-based health insurance — and get federal subsidies to do so — or let their employees buy federally subsidized health insurance on their own (Gram, 2/22).
The Associated Press/Boston Globe: Vt. House To Take Up Health Reform Bill
The House on Thursday will debate a bill that would set up a new health insurance exchange ... [Gov. Peter] Shumlin and his fellow Democrats are hoping to use the exchange for bringing most Vermonters within a single-payer health insurance system by 2017 (2/23).
The Associated Press/Houston Chronicle: Committee Calls For Okla. Insurance Exchange
A legislative committee recommended Wednesday that Oklahoma create its own health insurance exchange so the federal government doesn't establish one for it instead. Rep. Glen Mulready, R-Tulsa, said the exchange is a proactive choice, though he said he is hopeful the federal health care law will be overturned through litigation or the election of a different president. Mulready told The Associated Press he does not believe in the federal government's ability to impose an exchange cost effectively, and a state-based plan would give Oklahoma more control to decide the role of agents and brokers, as well as inviting more carriers and competition (Fretland, 2/22).
Meanwhile, in other news related to states and the health law —
Fox Business: The Best And Worst States For Health Care Costs
With the 2012 election season in full swing, and the fate of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act hanging in the air, health care cost and reform weigh heavy on the minds of small business owners across the country. The Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council released last week its "Health Care Policy Cost Index 2012," which ranks the states and the District of Columbia on public policy measures that impact the costs of health-care and health-insurance coverage. South Carolina and Iowa top the list (Roger, 2/22).