New York Health Insurance: Cuomo Moves on Healthcare Reform

New York Health Insurance: Cuomo Moves on Healthcare ReformNew York has joined the ranks of states moving forward with healthcare reforms. Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo issued an executive order April 12 to establish a health insurance exchange after the state’s Republican lawmakers blocked legislation to do so.

Mr. Cuomo came out in strong support of the insurance exchange, saying it would drive down insurance costs and help millions of uninsured New Yorkers get coverage. The health insurance exchange is an online marketplace where individuals and small businesses can choose from competing health insurance plans.

“The bottom line,” Mr. Cuomo said in a statement, “is that creating this health exchange will lower the cost of health insurance for small businesses, local governments and individual New Yorkers across the state.”

Republicans remained adamantly opposed to Mr. Cuomo’s actions, citing the uncertainty of the bill’s fate, whose constitutionality is currently being debated by the Supreme Court. They also oppose Mr. Cuomo for “sidestepping” the legislature’s decision to set up the healthcare exchange.

New York is among 11 states to set up the insurance exchange. As Governor, Mr. Cuomo does have the authority to implement the changes within the Department of Health. The state plans to use federal financing to set up the exchange rather than any state spending.

The exchange is a central component of the Affordable Care Act, passed in March 2010. Dubbed as “Obamacare” by opposing Republicans, the bill requires most Americans to have health insurance, and would require employers to offer coverage to employees or pay a penalty. Estimates say it would provide coverage to 32 million uninsured people.

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