Just before the Supreme Court upheld the Affordable Care Act, Gov. John Lynch signed legislation prohibiting the state from implementing one of its key provisions, a state health care exchange. Writing in the Portsmouth Herald, Executive Council candidate Bill Duncan says it’s not too late to reverse course.
There would be great advantages to setting up our own exchange to serve the needs of our own citizens. Most importantly, New Hampshire could have regulatory control over the insurance plans offered through the exchange. Our insurance commissioner could regulate benefit levels and eligibility. We could establish our own health care priorities, such as reforming how payments are made or development of “medical homes” and accountable care organizations.
But the Executive Council and Legislature have opted out of creating our own strategies and priorities. The result will be confusion for New Hampshire citizens, some purchasing insurance from the federal exchange and others purchasing insurance regulated by the state. We will have a jumble of differing policies for individuals and small businesses purchasing insurance.
New Hampshire is one of only three states to take this radical position. There is an opportunity to turn this around. The Obama administration has expressed a willingness to work with states like New Hampshire that have rejected participation so far, but change their policies to make the most of the Affordable Care Act. We should elect Executive Councilors and Legislators who will commit to doing that.