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Tuesday, August 30, 2011


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This week the North Dakota Insurance Department will start holding public hearings regarding the establishment of the "healthcare exchanges" as dictated by ObamaCare.  The first hearing is in Bismarck this Wednesday, you can register for it by clicking here.  It will be very helpful if large numbers of the public show up, it is to be held.  Here is the full schedule.


From the Bismarck Tribune:


Hamm said he's hoping the meetings help legislators tailor the exchange to North Dakota's needs, should they chose to run it. They also fulfill an important requirement that will allow the state to qualify for much larger grants should North Dakota create its own exchange.


"We're continuing to jump through all the hoops so we can qualify for all the grants," he said.


Bismarck's meeting for consumers and business owners will be held at 7 p.m. Wednesday at Bismarck State College's National Energy Center for Excellence Building in room 304. Participants are being asked to register at www.nd.gov/ndins/consumer/reform/stakeholders/register so there will be enough chairs for everyone. 


One might wonder why so much effort is being made to "jump through all the hoops to get all the grants" when other states are already returning their grants.

Earlier this month, the State of Kansas returned its $31.5 million in federal grant money, following Oklahoma's lead:


Kansas became on Tuesday the second U.S. state to return a large federal grant meant to help it create a prototype health insurance exchange as part of the Obama administration's healthcare overhaul.

Kansas's move brings the total amount of the returned exchange-related federal grants to almost $90 million as Republican governors seek to block implementation of the healthcare law supported largely by Democratic lawmakers.

In April, Oklahoma returned its $54.6 million early innovator grant, the largest of the batch of seven issued in total. Kansas followed suit on Tuesday after months of internal wrangling between Insurance Commissioner Sandy Praeger and the conservative governor and legislature.

"Every state should be preparing for fewer federal resources, not more," Governor Brownback said in a statement. "To deal with that reality, Kansas needs to maintain maximum flexibility. That requires freeing Kansas from the strings attached to the Early Innovator Grant."


While the legislature voted against constitutionally protecting North Dakotans from the federal overreach that is ObamaCare, it would simply be foolish to allow yet another segment of state government to be dictated by the federal government.  


Key provisions have repeatedly been struck down by various federal courts , final say on the constitutionality of the law has yet to be determined.

Earlier this month N.D.'s Insurance Commission, Adam Hamm, told the legislative interim committee on healthcare reform that the state should let the federal government set up the healthcare exchange, then assume responsibility for it later.


Insurance Commissioner Adam Hamm told an interim legislative committee that the federal government would allow states to later assume control of the exchanges, online marketplaces intended to make it easier for consumers to shop for coverage.


That new flexibility, granted under federal rule changes announced late last month, provides an option as states grapple with daunting challenges to set up the exchanges by 2014 but must be certified by the beginning of 2013, Hamm said.


The newly available option for the state to later assume control of an exchange prompted Hamm to rethink his earlier position that North Dakota should move at the onset to create and operate its own health insurance exchange.


"The feds would take all the risk," Hamm told members of the Legislature's Health Care Reform Review Committee, meeting in Fargo.


Hamm, an outspoken critic of federal health reform, called the flexibility for states to first step aside and let the federal government set up the exchanges with the option of later assuming responsibility a "bombshell."


These healthcare exchanges are unfunded mandates waiting to happen.  The money is there now, but there is no guarantee it will be there later.


Instead of "jumping through all the hoops to get federal grant money" the State of North Dakota should be looking to limit its exposure to the mess that is being created.




The legislature had that chance and declined, perhaps they can try again in the special session this November




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