Health
4:13 pm
Thu March 8, 2012

House Votes Against State Run Health Insurance Exchange

A bill which prevents the state from creating its own exchange passed overwhelmingly in the house on Thursday

Under federal healthcare reform all states must have a health insurance exchange in place by January 1, 2014. An exchange is a clearing house for federally approved health plans and a place where small employers and individuals can get information about new subsidies to help them pay for coverage. If a state does not establish its own exchange, the federal government will create one.

In New Hampshire, small businesses, health insurers and patient advocates support a state-run exchange. Democratic Representative Donna Schlachman of Exeter spoke in opposition of the bill.

"This legislation is about wishful thinking and political posturing, " Schlachman told her colleagues on the house floor. "It's not about being prepared, it is not about the state looking ahead for how we can do a better job for our citizens, its not about how we can meet the challenges of a changing healthcare landscape."

But supporters of the bill want to abolish federal healthcare reform and hope that by rejecting a state run health insurance exchange they can send that message to the Obama administration.

"This bill as amended would be the state's best response to the President's federal act because it would contribute to a nationwide effort by a majority of states to force the amendment, repeal or replacement of this bad public healthcare policy," said Republican Representative Andrew Manuse, the bill's sponsor.

Manuse and other critics of federal healthcare reform hope the U.S. Supreme Court will decide in favor of the 26 states that claim the law is unconstitutional when the justices takes up the case at the end of this month.