Texas: Holy Smokes! TX legislator does exactly what EVERY HC.gov state SHOULD be doing!
After the one-two punches of both Rhode Island and Vermont moving in exactly the wrong direction (at least before the King v. Burwell SCOTUS decision is announced this summer), my jaw nearly dropped when I read this story out of Texas, of all states:
AUSTIN -- On Wednesday, State Rep. Chris Turner (HD 101-Grand Prairie) filed two bills, HB 818 and HB 817, both creating a state health benefit exchange.
HB 818 would require the Health and Human Services Commission and the Texas Department of Insurance to create a state-based health benefit exchange, commonly known as a health insurance marketplace. The exchange would offer health insurance plans to Texans seeking coverage and would give the state the ability to determine which plans are eligible to participate, review rates and determine whether plans include coverage of essential health benefits.
HB 817 would require the creation of a state health insurance exchange in the event the United States Supreme Court determines that tax subsidies may no longer be offered to those who purchase plans through the federal Health Insurance Marketplace. During the first year of implementation, 84 percent of the 733,757 Texans who purchased plans through the Health Insurance Marketplace received tax credits to offset the cost of their health plan premiums.
Well I'll be damned.
I've never heard of this guy, but the moment I read this story I immediately knew two things about him: 1) he has to be a Democrat, and 2) he has to be someone worth following on Twitter, so I just did so.
OK, I know; it's Texas. Republicans have nearly a 2/3 majority in the state House and state Senate, along with a Republican governor. The odds of either of Rep. Turner's bills seeing the light of day are zilch.
HOWEVER, at least he's TRYING...and if nothing else, if the SCOTUS does rule for the King plaintiffs and the individual insurance market meltdown does take place as a result, Turner and the entire Texas Democratic Party can shout from the rooftops that they had a solution to the problem (for Texas at least), and the Republicans pissed it away, screwing over up to another 1,000,000 of their residents (Texas' current QHP tally is around 920K; I'm projecting it to reach 1.14 million by 2/15, of which nearly a million would likely be relying on federal tax credits to afford their policies).
Every other state on the federal exchange should be passing a law EXACTLY like the one Texas State Rep. Chris Turner just introduced.
If they want to word the law so that the exchange is only created if the federal exchange tax credits are killed, that's perfectly reasonable...but they should all be doing so, and now (ie, don't wait until the decision comes out in June; there's very little time to get their ducks in a row as it is).