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House Repeals Funding For State Insurance Exchanges

05/04/11

  04:03:02 pm, by MedBen5   , 216 words,  
Categories: News, Health Plan Management

House Repeals Funding For State Insurance Exchanges

As we reported here a few days ago, the House Energy and Commerce Committee voted in March to repeal grants to help states set up health insurance exchanges. Yesterday, the full House concurred, voting 238-183 to cut funding, according to The Associated Press. Voting was mainly along party lines.

Republican House leaders say the repeal stemmed from a lack of oversight. “Shockingly, the Congress gave [the Health and Human Services secretary] the sole authority to determine the size of the appropriation,” said Rep. Fred Upton (R-Mi.) chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee. “Without further congressional action, the secretary can literally spend hundreds of billions of dollars” at her own discretion.

Democrats counter that the Republicans’ actions serve a detrimental purpose. The Hill reports that on the House floor Tuesday, Rep. Frank Pallone (D-N.J.) argued that de-funding essentially strips most states of power, giving them no option but to accept exchanges established by federal government. “It’s the exact opposite of what you’re saying you want to do,” Pallone said.

As has been the case with previous House repeal efforts, the bill will next go to the Democrat-led Senate, where it will most certainly be rejected. The House is expected to vote today on another measure that would block grants for school-based health center construction.

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