A statement from the Michigan Business and Professional Association illustrates the complexity of state politics when politicians opposed to federal health reform are willing to fight its provisions at any cost.
The association, representing 20,000 members employing 160,000 workers, is calling on the state House and Senate to appropriate $30 million in federal funds that are available to implement a health insurance exchange, or marketplace.
“Although we did not support passage of the Affordable Care Act, we believe it is critical that our state has as much input as possible into the creation of the health care marketplace in order to retain at least some control over what happens with health care in Michigan,” says MPBA CEO Jennifer Kluge in the statement. “If we do not at least begin the process, we will be forced to accept a health care exchange program created solely by the federal government without any input on behalf of our citizens and the business community.”
Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder is a veteran businessman and establishment Republican who has been unable to convince more conservative GOP leaders in the state House and Senate to have the state build its own exchange, primarily funded by the federal government.
Instead, Snyder is trying to get agreement with the feds on a partnership exchange, which still gives the state some influence over how the exchange will operate and the level of coverage in offered health benefit plans. The deadline passed in late 2012 for states to build their own exchange--with federal funds. Now, remaining states have until Feb. 15 to decide if they will build a partnership or default and have the federal government build and operate the exchange under its processes and rules. But Snyder is getting no help from lawmakers in his own party.
In her statement, business leader Kluge reminds legislators that the $30 million in available federal money does not tie the state to permanent decisions; it simply gives needed revenue to begin technical compliance with the exchange requirements while saving state general fund dollars.
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