Misguided Strategy: Groups Lobbying States to Not Pass Health Insurance Exchanges

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Conservative groups are crisscrossing the country trying to convince state policymakers to steer clear of creating state level health insurance exchanges under the Affordable Care Act.

Health insurance exchanges, online marketplaces where consumers can compare and purchases affordable health insurance plans, are a centerpiece of the Affordable Care Act. States have until November to submit plans for exchanges, which are supposed to be up and running by 2014. 

The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) and the Cato Institute are leading the campaign to stop states from implementing exchanges in the hopes of undermining the new law. But they seem to forget that the law allows the federal government to come in and operate exchanges in states that opt out. That has some conservatives saying the ALEC-Cato strategy is misguided. USA Today has more:

Delays are shortsighted, said Cheryl Smith of the exchange practice of Leavitt Partners, a health care group run by former HHS secretary Mike Leavitt, a Republican. "States need to set up legislation to protect themselves," she said.

Republican Alabama Rep. Greg Wren, an ALEC member and chairman of the National Conference of State Legislatures' federal health care task force, agrees. "I still think it's better to have state control," he says. 

Of course, the larger question is why would ALEC and Cato and their state policymaker supporters want to prevent individuals and small businesses from having access to affordable health care?  

The USA Today story notes that 34 states, including Pennsylvania, have received federal grants to plan for exchanges.


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