Virginia Officials To Meet And Discuss How to Set Up a Health-Insurance Exchange

Virginia Officials To Meet And Discuss How to Set Up a Health-Insurance Exchange



The Virginia General Assembly wants to have a head start on how to establish a health-insurance exchange amid the uncertainty about the federal law requiring the entity to be created.

Both legislative houses’ commerce and labor committees are set to meet November 15 for a joint briefing by Bill Hazel, the Secretary of Health and Human Resources and the point man on health-care reform for Governor Bob McDonnell.

The governor opposes the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, which was signed into law last year by President Barack Obama. However, McDonnell and key legislators just wanted to be sure that the state will run the exchange and not the federal government.

According to Del. Terry G. Kilgore, a Republican from Scott and the chairman of the House Commerce and Labor Committee, “Virginia can and should set up its own health-care exchange.”

However, the question on how best to do it remains. At present, the legislature is still waiting for an already overdue report by the Health Care Reform Initiative Advisory Council.

The council has submitted the report to Gov. McDonnell and his policy office on Friday, but the administration will not make it public until it has already officially transmitted the document to the members of the assembly.

The governor may include all, some, or even none, of the recommendations as part of legislation needed to establish the exchange by 2013 so it will be ready to operate the following year.

Keith Hare, the deputy secretary of health and human resources, said, “The governor has just received the report. So we just don’t know what actions he intends to take.”