Michigan Legislature Likely To Take Up Health Care Exchange

Life Transitions Planning

After the June 28, 2012 Supreme Court decision to uphold the Affordable Care Act (ACA), the Michigan House is fairly likely to act on a bill to create a state health care exchange. In November, the Senate had passed Senate Bill 693 (Senator Jim Marleau-R, Lake Orion), legislation to create Michigan’s web-based health care exchange. MIHealth Marketplace would provide an online platform through which Michigan residents could shop for private health insurance, and then purchase on that site or over the phone.

Governor Snyder has favored creating the exchange prior to and regardless of the Supreme Court decision because he believes it will provide citizens with an efficient way to shop for individual health care plans. However, in part, as a result of anti-ACA political opposition, the House had put off voting on the bill until the Supreme Court made its decision. Now some ACA opponents are urging the House to wait until January when they believe Mitt Romney, as President, will repeal the law.

In his latest statements, House Speaker Jase Bolger (R-Marshall) has indicated that the House Health Policy Committee, chaired by Rep. Gail Haines (R-Waterford), along with the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Licensing and Regulatory Affairs will hold hearings to get answers to questions to questions such as:

  • Will Michiganders face an individual mandate and will citizens and businesses face the tax penalty if the state does not set up an exchange?
  • What flexibility does the state have regarding the details of the exchange, and what parameters must be met?
  • What are the advantages and disadvantages to the state setting up an exchange versus one being established by the federal government?
  • Could private companies set up a marketplace/exchange that would meet federal mandates?

The federal government has established a January 2013 deadline for states to demonstrate that they have a plan ready to be implemented by the following year. If states do not meet this deadline, the federal government will implement its own version of an exchange. Governor Snyder believers, however, that regardless of the deadline, planning for the creation of an exchange should begin as soon as possible simply because of the magnitude of the project. According to the state, this would be the biggest project the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA) has ever had to take on. One potential option for Governor Snyder is creating an exchange by executive order, but he has indicated he would prefer to do so through legislation.

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