Part of the Affordable Care Act includes the creation of state health insurance exchanges. States that choose not to create one will have the federal government create one for them. The Governor of Alabama has promised that he will veto any bill that would create an exchange for Alabama. This is despite the fact that the Alabama House of Representatives has passed a bill that would create an exchange.
The Affordable Care Act requires all states to create a health insurance exchange. The exchange is designed to be a place where individuals and small businesses can go in order to find an affordable health insurance plan. There will be a way for people to easily compare one plan against another, in order to understand what they are really getting from a particular plan. It will encourage competition between insurance companies, and drive down costs for consumers.
States are required to have their exchanges up and running by 2014. Many states have started working on their own health insurance exchanges. The idea is that if a state takes the time to set one up then the state can tailor it in ways that will best fit the needs of the people who live in that particular state.
Some states, like Mississippi, are setting up an exchange despite the fact that they are firmly against the Affordable Care Act. They see the value in having the exchanges, and feel that the idea of creating an exchange pre-dates the Affordable Care Act anyway.
Alabama, on the other hand, is having difficulty with getting an insurance exchange started. The House of Representatives in Alabama have passed a bill that establishes the framework for creating a health insurance exchange in Alabama. However, Governor Robert Bentley has promised that he will veto any bill that is about setting up a health insurance exchange.
According to Deputy Communications Director Jeremy King, the reason why Governor Robert Bentley has decided to veto bills that set up insurance exchanges is because he feels that the legislation is premature. He feels that the federal government has not yet established clear guidelines for health insurance exchanges, and that creating one now would be a “guessing game”.
He also is waiting to see how the Supreme Court chooses to rule on the Affordable Care Act. If the Supreme Court doesn’t kill the ACA, then the Governor feels that there would still be plenty of time to set up Alabama’s exchange before the December 31, 2012, deadline that states have to act on making their exchanges, (and avoid having the federal government make one for them).
Image by BrianSwan on Flickr