Saturday, February 5, 2011

House of Delegates Votes To Implement Health Insurance Exchange

While Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli is trying to rally his tea party followers by challenging the federal health care law, the House of Delegates appears to be moving in the other direction. By a vote of 95-3 the House moved to start creation of the insurance exchange that each state would be required to have by 2014.

As the bill (HB 2434) reads, "it is the intent of the General Assembly that the Commonwealth create and operate its own health benefits exchange or exchanges, hereafter referred to collectively as the "Virginia Exchange," to preserve and enhance competition in the health insurance market. The purpose of the Virginia Exchange shall be to facilitate the purchase and sale of qualified health plans in the individual market and to assist qualified small employers in facilitating the enrollment of their employees in qualified health plans offered in the small group market."

What makes the bill's passage noteworthy is that the House of Delegates is the more conservative chamber in the General Assembly. The fact that only three members voted against the bill therefore is a major sign that there are at least parts of the legislation that both sides of aisle believe are worthwhile. Nonetheless, we still see Ken Cuccinelli and other tea party folks wasting state resources (which they like to claim they protect) on challenges to a law that will help so many people across the great Commonwealth of Virginia and the United States.

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