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Insurance exchange debate pushed into 2012

By Rick Pluta, Michigan Public Radio Network

http://stream.publicbroadcasting.net/production/mp3/wkar/local-wkar-997049.mp3

LANSING, MI –

The debate over establishing and paying for a state-operated health insurance exchange has been pushed into next year. As we hear from Michigan Public Radio's Rick Pluta, lawmakers will begin their winter break at the end of this week without voting on a requirement of the new federal health care law.

Action stalled as House and Senate Republicans continue to disagree on whether creating an exchange would amount to an endorsement of the federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. House Republicans would prefer to wait until after the U.S. Supreme Court rules on the federal law.

Senate Majority Leader Randy Richardville says he's afraid a delay could force Michigan into a federal bureaucracy instead of an exchange designed by the state.

"But there are some that argue differently than me," he says. "The House is looking at differently in terms of how important the timing is, so, we think yes and they think no. It's one of those cases where we disagree."

The online exchange would allow people and businesses to comparison shop for insurance coverage that's required by the new federal law. Governor Rick Snyder would also like the Legislature to adopt the exchange without waiting on the U.S. Supreme Court.

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