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State Legislators Debating Health Insurance Exchanges

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Ohio Legislature, Lt. Governor Debate Health Exchanges

Ohio democrats are battling with the state’s lieutenant governor over the creation of a health insurance marketplace. The proposed legislation by the minority democrats would set up the Ohio Health Benefit Exchange Agency that would in turn start an exchange from which Ohioans could shop for and compare health insurance policies.

The Columbus Dispatch is reporting that the move would not only bring about an exchange, a key component of the new federal health care law, but would significantly reduce the authority of Lt. Gov. Mary Taylor who also heads the Ohio Department of Insurance.

“The legislature can no longer sit and watch idly as the director of the Department of Insurance does nothing to establish the state’s health exchange,” said Sen. Michael J. Skindell of Lakewood, Ohio. Taylor disputed those claims and said:

“We’ve done two different studies looking at the impact of the health care bill on Ohio’s market, but until federal regulators offer more detail about what an exchange must include, it’s difficult to move forward,” she said. “For instance, it’s not clear what benefits must be covered on policies offered through an exchange.”

Idaho Legislative Committee Says “Yes” to an Exchange

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Meanwhile, the Idaho state legislature is a step closer to approving a health insurance exchange. A legislative committee overseeing health and welfare issues voted 11 to 1 to further consider an exchange, this following polling showing that a majority of Idaho voters want an exchange as a way to deal with spiraling health care costs.

“People making the most noise are saying we just refuse and ObamaCare won’t happen, but that’s not the choice we have. This is state or federal,” said Rep. John Rusche, Idaho’s House Minority Leader.

Boise’s Fox News television outlet said the state stands to receive $20.4 million to implement the health insurance exchange, if the bill passes. For the next step, the health exchange legislation will undergo further consideration and revisions.

State of Washington Considering Exchanges that will Fund Abortion

Since the passage of the Affordable Health Care Act in 2010, many states have pursued measures banning the funding of abortion that would otherwise force taxpayers who oppose the procedure to pay for it. The state of Washington, however, is considering just the opposite.

Representative Eileen Cody of the legislature’s House and Health Care and Wellness Committee announced her sponsorship of a bill that would require all health insurance policies sold in Washington that offer maternity coverage to also cover abortions.

“The federal bill required that no federal money go towards abgortion in the exchange,” Cody said. “We’re making sure there will continue to be parity between all choices for reproductive rights. There will be one plan that will not offer abortions and that will be the federal plan – all plans offered through the state of Washington will offer abortion.”