|By Eric P. Newcomer; Eric P. Newcomer, Examiner Staff Writer|
Business leaders and
That proposal would require individuals who purchase their own health insurance and local small businesses to obtain health insurance exclusively through a new government-regulated marketplace.
"I'm concerned that small businesses would be adversely affected by such a mandate," said
The District of
Many other states are simply adding a government-regulated health exchange and keeping the existing insurance marketplace intact.
Regardless of the marketplace in which a health insurance plan is offered, it would still need to meet requirements established by the new national health care law, including the provision that it does not bar individuals with pre-existing conditions.
During a five-hour hearing Thursday, all four council members present indicated they were reluctant to eliminate the current marketplace for health insurance when the new government-run exchange is scheduled to take effect in
If the District moves to eliminate the current marketplace, insurance lobbyist
He warned that as the new health care law begins to take effect, there will already be a significant disruption to the health insurance market.
Supporters of a single marketplace argue that for the government- regulated exchange to thrive, it will need to be populated with a large number of participants, which might not be feasible if many residents are allowed to stick with the private marketplace. D.C. in particular, with a population smaller than nearly every state, needs a pool of healthy participants to keep costs manageable.
The executive director of the health exchange board indicated a willingness to compromise and consider how the District transitions into the new exchange, saying that a "thoughtful transition period" will be reflected in the proposal it presents to the
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