Washington state Governor Christine Gregoire has now signed a bill into law, which now sets the rules in that state for insurance companies that are readying themselves for the online insurance exchange that is a part of the federal healthcare reform.
The exchanges are a part of the President Barack Obama overhaul that began in 2010, and they must be ready to be put into place by January 1, 2014. They are designed to assist both individuals and small businesses to find proper and affordable health insurance coverage.
Governor Gregoire explained that she feels that everyone deserves to have access to healthcare, and not just those who are able to afford it. She explained that “To those who say they are not supportive of the Affordable Care Act, then what?”
Washington has now also joined twenty five other states that have signed a lawsuit that is seeking to have the act overturned. The state was signed on as being in opposition to the act by Attorney General Rob McKenna, against the wishes of Governor Gregoire.
Those taking part in this lawsuit believe that the federal government’s requirement that individuals purchase health insurance is contrary to their constitutional rights. The long awaited case in the Supreme Court will begin on Monday, when the first arguments will be presented.
Should the Supreme Court rule against the act and overturn it completely, it is still possible for the insurance exchange to be put into place in the state, but they will likely lose the federal funding that they are receiving for it, as well as several other plans such as a significant Medicaid expansion.
Washington Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler has stated that his office is still dedicated to ensuring that the insurance exchange is implemented on time.