Rating the New York Health Insurance Exchange Bills

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How Do the Health Insurance Exchange Bills Rate? A Side-by-Side Comparison
American Cancer Society, AARP Evaluate Governor’s Draft and Senate Bill

Albany, N.Y. (June 10, 2011) – What constitutes a good health insurance exchange bill? The American Cancer Society and AARP today shared their analysis by releasing a side-by-side comparison of the Senate’s health insurance exchange bill (S.5652) and the Governor’s draft proposal (released via recent media reports) using a “thumbs up” or “thumbs down” ranking system. The chart can be accessed here [ http://www.cancer.org/InYourArea/Eastern/AreaHighlights/cancernynj-news-ny-health-insurance-exchange-scorecard ]

“We are encouraged that the process is moving forward, but we still have concerns about some of the provisions of each version, though the Governor's draft comes closer to our objectives,” said Blair Horner, Vice President for Advocacy, American Cancer Society of NY & NJ. “With six scheduled session days left, it is a sprint to the finish for lawmakers to enact legislation that establishes the working framework of an exchange that ultimately must be consumer-friendly and free of conflicts of interest.”

“AARP strongly believes that the time for New York State to act on establishing a Health Care Insurance exchange is now,” said Lois Wagh Aronstein, AARP New York State Director. “Time is running out and the Governor and the Legislature must put their differences aside to come together in the last week of legislative session to build an exchange that meets the needs of New Yorkers. Nothing less would be acceptable.”

Questions the organizations examined include:
· Is the governance board properly structured to serve in the best interests of the consumer, patients, workers and small employers?
· Do conflict of interest provisions prohibit the participation of those who stand to financially gain from the exchange’s decisions?
· Is the exchange structured to emphasize simplicity for consumers?
· Does the exchange have the power to actively negotiate on behalf of consumers and small employers and to provide consumers useful information about the quality and comprehensiveness of insurance products?

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, the national health care reform law, calls for creation of a state-based health insurance exchange, where uninsured individuals and employees of small businesses can go to buy quality, affordable health insurance coverage. Lower-income New Yorkers will be able to access federal subsidies to help pay for coverage and those that quality for Medicaid or other government-run health plans will gain easy entry to those programs through the exchange. The deadline for a fully functioning exchange is January 1, 2014, but the state must show the federal government that significant progress has been made in setting up the exchange by January 1, 2013.

Additional Resources:
View the Side by Side Comparison Chart
Get an image of the chart from our CancerNYNJ on Flickr
American Cancer Society index on Access to Care
American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network New York Page
AARP's Health Care Reform Page

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About the American Cancer Society
The American Cancer Society combines an unyielding passion with nearly a century of experience to save lives and end suffering from cancer. As a global grassroots force of more than three million volunteers, we fight for every birthday threatened by every cancer in every community. We save lives by helping people stay well by preventing cancer or detecting it early; helping people get well by being there for them during and after a cancer diagnosis; by finding cures through investment in groundbreaking discovery; and by fighting back by rallying lawmakers to pass laws to defeat cancer and by rallying communities worldwide to join the fight. As the nation’s largest non-governmental investor in cancer research, contributing more than $3.4 billion, we turn what we know about cancer into what we do. As a result, more than 11 million people in America who have had cancer and countless more who have avoided it will be celebrating birthdays this year. To learn more about us or to get help, call us any time, day or night, at 1-800-227-2345 or visit cancer.org.

About AARP
AARP is a nonprofit, nonpartisan social welfare organization with a membership that helps people 50+ have independence, choice and control in ways that are beneficial and affordable to them and society as a whole.  AARP does not endorse candidates for public office or make contributions to either political campaigns or candidates.  We produce AARP The Magazine, the definitive voice for 50+ Americans and the world's largest-circulation magazine with over 35.1 million readers; AARP Bulletin, the go-to news source for AARP's millions of members and Americans 50+; AARP VIVA, the only bilingual U.S. publication dedicated exclusively to the 50+ Hispanic community; and our website, AARP.org.  AARP Foundation is an affiliated charity that provides security, protection, and empowerment to older persons in need with support from thousands of volunteers, donors, and sponsors.  We have staffed offices in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.