Lawmakers in New York are being urged to propose a bill that would establish a health insurance exchange program in the state. Exchanges are one of the provisions of the Affordable Care Act. All states are required to establish one by 2014, but several advocacy groups say that there is no time to waste. One of these groups, Health Care for All New York, hosted a press conference late last week, calling upon legislators to take action.
“Over a million New Yorkers will be getting insurance through this program,” says Jessica Wisneski, campaign director for Citizen Action of New York. Wisneski believes that the establishment of an insurance exchange is the single most important issue facing legislators now.
If steps are not taken soon, the state may not qualify for a number of federal grants that could help mitigate the costs of constructing the program.
States have until 2013 to pass legislation that makes establishing a health insurance exchange possible. Those that fail to enact such legislation will receive no financial aid from the government. They will have to erect the exchanges on their own before the final deadline in 2014. If a program is not in place by that time, the federal government will step in and set one up.
New York is one of 12 states that have yet to pass legislation regarding an exchange program. Advocacy groups believe that plans will have to be in place by the end of the current legislative session in order to receive aid from the government.