Texas, Oregon Planning To Set Up State Health Insurance Exchanges
Although Texas is publicly challenging the federal health reform law, the state's Department of Insurance last fall began planning and implementing a state health insurance exchange under the overhaul, the New York Times reports.
Texas will use a $1 million grant from HHS to hire a consultant to consider options for both a state-run and federally run exchange (Ramshaw, New York Times, 6/9).
Under the reform law, states by January 2014 must create insurance exchanges that provide coverage options for individuals and small businesses.
States can choose to administer their own exchanges -- for which they must have some infrastructure in place by January 2013 -- or ask the federal government to run the exchanges for them (California Healthline, 5/3).
Texas' Reform Law Plans
John Greeley, spokesperson for the Texas Department of Insurance, said the agency has been "going full speed ahead on implementation, doing the due diligence so that we can be on time with what the law says." He said department officials initially believed they would need to pass legislation to establish the exchange but "the indication we're getting is this could happen without it."
According to the Times, Texas has made progress on its insurance exchange even though the state has joined lawsuits against the health care overhaul.
Lucy Nashed -- a spokesperson for Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R), who has been a high-profile critic of the health reform law -- said the governor still is hopeful that the law will be overturned. "The governor's firm belief that Texans should be in charge of our health care programs is unchanged," Nashed said (New York Times, 6/9).
Oregon Governor To Sign Exchange Bill
Meanwhile, Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber (D) is expected to sign a bill to establish a state health insurance exchange, CQ HealthBeat reports.
The Oregon Health Insurance Corporation will be governed by a board of nine members, including seven appointed by the governor. Two of the members must represent consumers and two may be from the insurance industry.
The board will set minimum standards for participation by insurance companies and will provide more details in a business plan. The state legislature will have to approve the plan in 2012 (Norman, CQ HealthBeat, 6/9).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.