Maine: Good News: Legislative committee passes bill to set up post-King state exchange
I don't post about the state of Maine very often, and given that their Governor is an utter nutbag that's usually a good thing. Tonight, however, I'm happy to report that at least 2 of the 34 states at risk of losing their federal tax credits in the event of a King v. Burwell plaintiff win next month are seriously prepping to "establish" a state-based exchange if need be (Pennsylvania is the other one):
In a unanimous vote, the Legislature’s Insurance and Financial Services Committee endorsed the effort to maintain the health insurance premium subsidies that are offered as tax credits through the Affordable Care Act. Those credits are being challenged in a federal lawsuit known as King v. Burwell, which the U.S. Supreme Court is expected to decide next month.
...The bill sponsored by Rep. Linda Sanborn, D-Gorham, would create a state-based insurance exchange that actually uses the federal website healthcare.gov. The bill would essentially allow Mainers buying individual health insurance to continue to do so through the federal site, while meeting the legal definition of having a state-run exchange. Three other states – New Mexico, Nevada and Oregon – have developed similar systems. Those states initially tried to establish their own exchanges but encountered problems. The states eventually contracted with the federal government to use healthcare.gov while maintaining enough provisions for their systems to qualify as a state exchange.
As expected, just like in Pennsylvania's case, if the state-based exchange was to be established, it would be done along the lines of Oregon, Nevada and New Mexico: All the legal stuff would be done at the state level, but the exchange platform itself (website/enrollment) would still be done via Healthcare.Gov, meaning there'd be very little visible change at the front end.
Of course, this all assumes that Oregon, Nevada and New Mexico would be in the clear in the event of an adverse King v. Burwell decision. From everything I've been told by various experts on the case, I'm about 90% sure that there would be no problem doing this...but if that turns out not to be the case, things will be even uglier than "just" a plaintiff win would be.