PA Chamber at Signing of Bill to Implement State-Based Health Insurance Exchange

From PA Chamber of Business & Industry

PA Chamber President Gene Barr was in attendance at a Capitol event last week where Gov. Tom Wolf signed into law a bill that will allow Pennsylvania to establish its own health insurance exchange for the purchase of individual market plans under the Affordable Care Act. 

This legislation – which had strong bipartisan support – was made possible due to an Executive Order issued by the Trump Administration that allowed the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to issue new guidance for states seeking more flexibility through waivers.  This encouraged greater innovation in finding tools and solutions to help reduce premium costs.  Act 42 of 2019 (formerly H.B. 3) does this by replacing the federally operated Healthcare.gov with a state-operated website in an effort to get more people into the system and lower their costs.  According to a story in the Associated Press, the Wolf administration expects that this change will lower premiums anywhere from 5 to 10 percent for the 400,000 people who buy policies in the marketplace – particularly the large segment of those people who currently buy policies through Healthcare.gov but whose incomes are too high to qualify for a federal tax subsidy.

As the bill was moving through the legislative process, the PA Chamber sent numerous memos to House and Senate lawmakers urging their support because it helps to achieve our organization’s goal of creating stability in the state’s healthcare market and making health insurance more affordable for the Commonwealth’s citizens. “The creation of a state based exchange couple with a reinsurance program that is properly managed and remains solvent can benefit many individuals,” the PA Chamber wrote.  “We commend the Administration and legislative leadership for their commitment and swift legislative action.”