An interim oversight committee of the Arkansas Legislature once again raised objections over state Insurance Commissioner Jay Bradford’s plan to tap federal money for state health insurance exchange planning, but Bradford’s request to seek $7.7 million was granted.
On Friday (April 21), Bradford fielded questions largely from Republican lawmakers opposed to spending money on a state-federal plan for a health insurance exchange.
Bradford had already been rebuffed by lawmakers in his effort to create a state-run exchange, which led to the alternative of a state-federal exchange. Many lawmakers have requested no money be spent on exchanges until a U.S. Supreme Court ruling, expected later this summer, gives clarification on the constitutionality of the new federal health care law.
Rob Moritz with our content partner, the Arkansas News Bureau, reports:
The Legislative Council on Friday endorsed a plan for the state to use a $7.7 million federal grant to fund planning for a federally mandated health insurance exchange in Arkansas.
Earlier this month, a subcommittee of Legislative Council failed to endorse the request, but the full council reconsidered the measure today.
Approval today came in a voice vote after about 90 minutes of debate largely along party lines. Republicans argued against any use of the money until the U.S. Supreme Court rules on whether the federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 is constitutional.
The high court heard arguments last month in lawsuits challenging the health care reform law signed into law in 2010.
State Insurance Commissioner Jay Bradford told lawmakers today that the grant money would allow his office to establish a partnership with federal officials that would give Arkansas some authority, including regulatory power, in operating the exchange in the state.
Without the partnership, the state would lose any control over the exchange, he said.
You can read more on the subject at this link.