Two final decisions by states on health insurance exchanges show that support for one-stop shopping for health insurance remains bitterly divided over partisan lines.
Minnesota in recent days enacted legislation to build its exchange after control of the legislature switched from Republicans to Democrats in late 2012. GOP lawmakers previously rejected building an exchange either solely by the state or in partnership with the federal government. The new approval for a partnership exchange means the state will have more flexibility in exchange policies, rather than having a totally federal built and run exchange.
The office of Gov. Mark Dayton says the exchange will save families and businesses an estimated $1 billion in health costs by 2016, individual consumers will see an average 34 percent discount in premiums for insurance purchased through the exchange and an average family will save $500 annually.
But a federally controlled exchange is the road Michigan will take following opposition from GOP lawmakers that never wavered despite efforts from moderate Republican Gov. Rick Snyder to work with the feds. Snyder’s office argued that the state would receive $31 million in government funds for a partnership exchange, but a federal exchange could cost the state more than $8 million, a spokesperson told the Detroit News.
Senate Majority Leader Randy Richardville told the newspaper that the GOP caucus has real concerns that “the federal government is not prepared to enact on what they’ve forced on us.”
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