KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations.

States And Exchanges: Mich. Senate Rejects Plan To Partner With Feds

The Michigan action means that running the health insurance marketplace in that state will fall to the federal government. In Idaho, the Senate approved a proposal to create a state-based health exchange.

The Associated Press: Mich. Senate Rejects Partnering On Health Exchange
The U.S. government will fully run a health insurance market in Michigan after Republican senators on Thursday decided against Gov. Rick Snyder's call to partner with federal officials on consumer assistance and oversight of health plans offered in the exchange. It was the last day to act before lawmakers take a two-week break. Because the GOP-led Senate refused to spend a $31 million federal grant for the partnership exchange – a key component of the contentious 2010 federal health care law – the state will have to spend about $8 million of its own money to link computer systems to the federal exchange, Snyder spokesman Kurt Weiss said (Eggert, 3/21).

Detroit Free Press: Senate Inaction Means Michigan Gives All Control Of Health Exchange To Feds
Senate Republicans, wary of anything to do with the Affordable Care Act, couldn't reach a consensus on the best way to form the exchange, which will allow Michigan residents to research and ultimately buy health insurance mandated under the ACA. Gov. Rick Snyder said the measure had to be decided before the Legislature goes on a two-week spring break this week in order to get the work done to create the exchange. He favors the state/federal partnership as a way for the state to still have some control over the exchange (Gray, 3/21).

The Associated Press: Idaho State Senate Approves State-Based Health Insurance Exchange
The Idaho state Senate approved a proposed state-based health insurance exchange on Thursday after a debate in which it was alternately bashed as federal tyranny and praised as protecting Idaho's sovereignty. Unlike two dozen Republican governors in other states, Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter backs such an exchange run by a state-created, nonprofit corporation. He argues it will be cheaper and more responsive to Idaho residents and better for insurers based in Idaho (3/21).

In addition, while the U.S. Senate debated the Democrats' budget plan, some Republicans offered amendments to force President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden to purchase their health insurance through the new exchanges.

The Hill: Senate GOP Proposals Would Force Obama Into Health Law Exchanges
Republican amendments to the Senate's budget proposal would require President Obama and Vice President Biden to get their medical care through the new exchanges created by Obama's signature healthcare law. Sens. Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.) both offered amendments to move the president and vice president into the healthcare law's exchanges (Baker, 3/21).

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