Waiting for an Exchange bill.

Posted May, 4 2011 by arianne

New Yorkers are patiently waiting  for the State to act on the federal requirement to establish a health insurance Exchange.  Like other states, New York is eligible to receive federal funding to establish a state-operated Exchange.  This includes an unlimited – yes, you read that correctly – multi-year funding opportunity which could mean a few extra hundred million dollars for New York. 

The catch? We need to have a state law in place authorizing the establishment of an Exchange.

New York is one of only 14 states that have not yet introduced some sort of legislation on health insurance Exchanges.  So, what’s the hold up?  Both the Governor’s office and the Senate committees on health and insurance have held stakeholder meetings to solicit input, but that seems to be as far as we’ve come on the issue.  Meanwhile, the end of the legislative session, June 20, draws nearer and nearer.

Now, that’s not to say that just any Exchange bill will do for New York.  There are good bills and then there are bad bills.  And, passing a bare-bones bill for the sake of passing something is not likely to do anyone much good.  As mentioned in a previous post, there are several important questions that need to be addressed first regarding the Exchange’s governance and functions, and the more robust we can make the bill the better.

HCFANY has been looking into the issue of governance and has put together a brief position paper on the matter.  We recommend that the Exchange be run by a governmental entity, and that the composition of the board be diverse and represent the interests of stakeholders and consumers alike, while meeting certain anti-conflict of interest provisions.