GOV PICKS FED-RUN INSURANCE EXCHANGE
The governor says his “focus is on implementing the federal health care law in the most efficient and cost effective manner for Nebraskans and their families.”
The insurance exchanges serve as a marketplace where individuals and small businesses can comparison shop for insurance. They’re the centerpiece of President Barack Obama’s health care law, which Heineman, a Republican, opposes.
Under the federal law, states can operate their own exchanges, partner with the federal government on operations or leave the job entirely up to the federal government…but have to declare by tomorrow if they plan to create a state-run health insurance exchange.
Heineman says he was initially leaning toward a state-run exchange, touted by some lawmakers and health care advocates as the best option. but that a budget review showed that a federal exchange was cheaper for state taxpayers
Exchanges are described as one-stop shops where people can compare and buy private health insurance, get federal subsidies to afford the premiums, or enroll in Medicaid if they are eligible.
Heineman says he appreciates the input he received from a variety of perspectives since the federal health care law was enacted in March 2010, but that while there were diverse and emotional opinions on this issue his decision is based on what he believes is best for what he calls “Nebraska’s hard-working, middle class taxpayers.”
The governor says fiscal analysis of budget impacts done by two state agencies put the cost of a state insurance exchange at $646 million through Fiscal 2020 and the cost of a federal insurance exchange at $176 million….$470 million dollars less.
He also says that on the key issues, there is no real operational difference between a federal exchange and a state exchange…with the federal health care law “totally dictated and totally controlled by the federal government.”