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National News December 14, 2012
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Money for Health Exchange in Michigan Fails Clearence in the House

In its final session of 2012, the State Legislature failed to include in the supplemental appropriations $9.8 million from the federal government that would allow the Insurance Bureau to continue planning for a State-Federal Partnership Health Exchange. Republicans in the House continue to put barriers in the way of the Snyder administration to conduct any planning for a health exchange in Michigan. Governor Snyder has indicated a desire to partner with the federal government by having Michigan government oversee two components of the exchange: 1) the insurance plans approved for the exchange and 2) outreach and enrollment assistance. If the House refuses to appropriate the federal funds available for implementation of these components, the federal government will operate these components as well. Nationally, Colorado, Connecticut, Maryland, Massachusetts, Oregon and Washington all received conditional approval from the Obama Administration of their health exchanges this week. Click here to tell the Michigan Legislature you want them to appropriate federal grant funds for Michigan’s State-Federal Partnership Exchange.

Conscientious Objector Bill Hangs in Limbo

Among other bills the House didn’t pass on Thursday was Senate bill 975, which would enact religious liberty and conscience protection to allow health care payers, health facilities, and health providers a right to decline to provide or pay for certain objectionable health care services. This bill has been debated in each session over the past 12 years but has failed to ever make it through both Houses. The bill passed the Senate last month and was reported out of the House Insurance Committee earlier this week to be voted on by the full House, but failed to make it to a vote Thursday night before adjournment.

Partial Medicaid Expansion Won't be Funded

States that choose not to expand Medicaid to 133% of the Federal Poverty Level will not receive the level of payments as states doing a full expansion under the Affordable Care Act. The Obama Administration said earlier this week that the law doesn’t allow for partial or phased-in expansion. States can opt in to or withdraw from Medicaid expansion at any time without a penalty, but the sooner states opt in, the greater the financial advantage with a larger federal match rate. Read more


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