NYS Senate discusses health insurance
New York Senate republicans are not opposed to Governor Andrew Cuomo's creation of a health insurance exchange through an executive order. It's part of the federal mandate stipulated in the health care law that is being argued before the U.S. Supreme Court. Our Nick Reisman has more.
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NEW YORK STATE -- Senate Republicans aren't thrilled with the prospect of a statewide health insurance exchange, but they won't stop Governor Andrew Cuomo from creating one through his power of executive order.
“That's his right to do it,” said Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos.
“You won't challenge that?” our reporter asked.
“No, no. We won't challenge that,” Skelos replied.
The measure was initially included in the 2012-13 budget proposal. But lawmakers this week reached a tentative deal with Cuomo on a $132.6 billion plan that doesn't include the exchange.
“The legislature has declined to put a health exchange in the executive budget so we will set it up by executive order,” Cuomo said.
Enacting a statewide insurance exchange is part of the 2010 federal health care overhaul law that's currently being challenged in the U.S. Supreme Court. Senate Republicans, nervous about enacting a component of the so-called ObamaCare legislation in state law, declined on passing the bill this year and in June, when lawmakers were debating another contentious issue: same-sex marriage.
“I have great sympathy not only with the governor's position that we're woefully behind on this. We could end up with a national exchange if we're not careful on this and I think that will be a real injustice for New Yorkers,” said Joseph Morelle, Assembly Insurance Committee Chairman.
As proposed by Cuomo in legislation, the exchange would have been a public authority taking federal money to perform studies and then be up and running by 2014. The intent is to have insurance companies enter a single marketplace and then allow businesses and others select the best plans.
“This will be an issue for down the road. I don't fault the governor for proceeding in this way because we in the Senate were just not prepared in the Senate to move forward at this time,” said Senate Insurance Committee Chairman James Seward.
Seward says it's possible further legislation will be needed after the order is issued.
“At some point in the future, this issue will have to be revisited before we could go fully into an exchange,” Seward said.
Cuomo is expected to issue an executive order later this week and it's expected to achieve the same goals as the original legislation.