State legislators have given the green light for the Department of Insurance to spend $12.4 million in federal grant money to set up a preliminary health insurance exchange. These funds, considered a “Level One” grant, will be used to hire consultants, temporary full-time employees, and purchase IT services and software. A health insurance exchange, in theory, is a marketplace for people and businesses to purchase insurance plans. Setting up an exchange is a component of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (Obamacare).
Despite several pending legal challenges to Obamacare, involving more than half of our nation’s states, some states are choosing to press on with health insurance exchanges. The Supreme Court is likely to consider these constitutional challenges by June 2012. While the North Carolina Legislature signed a friend-of-the court amicus brief supporting the 26-state Florida lawsuit, our legislative leaders have not signed on to any official legal challenges and instead have chosen to accept federal assistance to begin an exchange. Read more here!