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Kansas Follows Oklahoma in Rejecting Federal Funds for Health Insurance Exchange

Source: Health Data Management

Posted on 11 Aug 2011

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The State of Kansas is returning federal grant funds to build a state insurance exchange mandated under the Affordable Care Act. Kansas is the second state, following Oklahoma, to decline the funds.

Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback (R) in a statement said there is uncertainty about the federal government's ability to meet current spending obligations and every state should be preparing for fewer federal resources, not more. Returning the grant also frees Kansas from strings attached to the money, he added.

Lt. Gov. Jeff Colyer said the state will find its own solutions, but did not give specifics. Under the reform law, the federal government will implement an insurance exchange--designed to give consumers and small businesses one-stop shopping for health coverage, if a state declines to build one on its own.

Oklahoma in April turned down the federal money and will build its own health insurance network funded by state or private sources. "I'm pleased to announce this agreement that accomplishes my goal from the very beginning: Stopping the implementation of the President's federal health care exchange in Oklahoma," Gov. Mary Fallin (R) said in an April statement.

"We have addressed concerns expressed by implementing strict safeguards to prevent the implementation of the federal health care exchange while definitely laying out the framework for a free market-based network that will empower consumers by providing a place for individuals, families and small businesses to shop for affordable, quality health insurance plans."

Oklahoma Senate President Pro Tempore Brian Bingman said the private enterprise network will offer more options when buying insurance and will "serve as a defensive strategy that protects Oklahoma from the federal health care law."