House leaders have one more chance to do the right thing

Added November 13th, 2012 by Jan Hudson | Email This Entry Email This Entry
Jan Hudson

Michigan House Republicans have one more chance to set aside politics and do what is right for the residents and small businesses of Michigan when it comes to health insurance.

On Nov. 9, the federal government notified states that it is allowing an extension until Dec. 14, 2012 to submit detailed plans for developing state-operated health insurance exchanges. Michigan must provide a letter of intent by Friday if it intends to pursue a state-operated exchange. Initially both the letter of intent and the detailed plan were due this Friday.

The League’s new report Michigan’s Exchange: A Fumbled Political Football provides information on health insurance exchanges and their benefits.

Gov. Rick Snyder has steadfastly expressed support for a state-operated exchange to “provide a health insurance marketplace that best serves Michiganders.” He urged the state Legislature to pass enabling legislation by Thanksgiving 2011, but only the Senate acted. House Republicans stalled — waiting for the Supreme Court ruling and then the election. We now know the Affordable Care Act is here to stay.

In August, the governor acknowledged the time was growing short to develop a state-operated exchange, and indicated interest in pursuing a state-federal partnership exchange.  A partnership would allow the state to have some involvement in the operation of the exchange.

With notification of the extension, the governor has expressed renewed interest in a state-operated exchange and urged House consideration. While it is not clear if the federal extension provides enough time for Michigan to develop, prepare for, and be operation by Jan. 1, 2014, it does provide an opportunity to begin development of a state-operated exchange that could be implemented in 2015. Federal funding remains available to states for the design and implementation of their exchanges.

Policymakers need to take a serious look at this new opportunity.

— Jan Hudson

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