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Missouri Health Exchange Funding Vote Postponed

By Marshall Griffin, St. Louis Public Radio

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – Missouri insurance officials have postponed a vote to draw down $13 million from Washington that would be used to help set up a health insurance exchange.

The exchange is required by the new federal health care law, and every state must have one by the year 2014. States that fail to do so will have one created for them.

Members of the state's insurance pool were scheduled to take action September 15, but some Republican members of the Missouri Senate dropped in on the meeting and persuaded them to postpone the vote.

John Huff is the Director of the Department of Insurance:

"Well, I think there was some confusion about the purpose of the meeting," said Huff. "(It) was not to establish an exchange, it's really a policy decision for the legislature to make. It was really to continue the technical work that will be necessary if the state does decide to set up a state-based exchange."

Several Republican lawmakers, along with GOP Lt. Governor Peter Kinder, are accusing Democratic Governor Jay Nixon of trying to bypass the legislature and create an exchange.

"Certainly when we look at the idea that 71 percent of Missourians voted against establishing Obamacare in Missouri, and this certainly is directly linked to that," said GOP Senator Jim Lembke.

Some Missouri lawmakers have recently sponsored bills to create a state-run exchange, all of which have failed to pass.
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