Newspaper article Evansville Courier & Press (2007-Current)

Quinn May Order Exchange Move Meant to Comply with Health Care Reform

Newspaper article Evansville Courier & Press (2007-Current)

Quinn May Order Exchange Move Meant to Comply with Health Care Reform

Article excerpt

CHICAGO - Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn may use an executive order to establish a health insurance exchange, a website where consumers could comparison shop for insurance that's a key piece of President Barack Obama's health care law, according to Quinn's chief health care adviser. Michael Gelder, the governor's adviser, said the Legislature's workload on Medicaid and pension reform makes it unlikely lawmakers will be able to pass legislation authorizing an insurance exchange during the current session, which is scheduled to end later this month.

Looming federal deadlines leave the governor with two choices: calling the Legislature back into special session or issuing an executive order, Gelder said.

But Republicans said an executive order would be inappropriate, especially before the U.S. Supreme Court rules on the Affordable Care Act. A decision is expected in June.

"The issuance of an executive order to establish a health insurance exchange by Gov. Quinn at this time is premature on a number of levels," said Sen. Bill Brady, a Bloomington Republican who co-chaired a legislative study committee on the health insurance exchange. "We expect the U.S. Supreme Court to issue a ruling on Obamacare in just a few weeks."

An executive order would undercut the legislative process and cut out stakeholders who've been involved so far, Brady said.

"There is no consensus, but the governor should let that process play out," he said.

An executive order is needed, Gelder said, to secure federal grants and meet a deadline to prevent the federal government from running an insurance exchange in Illinois. States have a Jan. 1, 2013, deadline for Washington to approve their plans or risk the federal government coming in to run things.

Only two states have established insurance exchanges by executive order: New York and Rhode Island. …

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