Part of the PPACA requires all states to either have their own health insurance exchange set up by 2014, or participate in a federally-run exchange instead. Legislators in Colorado have opted to take action in creating a state-specific health insurance exchange, and begun the process well ahead of schedule. SB 200 has had a bit a of rocky road this spring, but advanced to the Senate as a whole last month and appears to be back on track (although it’s still a very controversial bill).
One of the provisions of the PPACA is for the federal government to assist the states in funding the creation of health insurance exchanges. In a largely symbolic vote, the US House of Representatives voted last week to block that funding. HR1213 would prevent the federal government from spending money to help the states set up their own health insurance exchanges. It passed in the Republican-dominated House, but is expected the fail in the Democratic-majority Senate (and President Obama said he would veto it if it did pass the Senate).
I know that HR1213 is part of a series of bills that are designed to defund the PPACA. But it seems ironic that House Republicans would specifically target the health insurance exchanges. If the exchanges get going, they will be marketplaces where individuals and small businesses can shop for health insurance from a variety of private carriers. The exchanges will support competition and market forces, albeit in a regulated fashion. SB200 has received a lot of criticism here in Colorado from people who are opposed to anything associated with the PPACA, and perhaps that’s the idea behind HR1213 too.