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Dear Senator: Please vote 'yes' on health insurance exchange

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AARP Michigan is urging the 24 State Senators who voted in favor of setting up a state health insurance exchange last year to vote "yes" in the coming weeks to spend $31 million in federal funding to develop a state-federal exchange.

The legislation has already passed the House.

AARP also has sent a message to members asking them to contact their Senators to encourage a vote in favor of the health insurance exchange. A small but vocal minority has put pressure on the Senate to reject the bill.

The letter to Senators follows:

Dear Senator,

We are writing on behalf of AARP’s 1.4 million Michigan members to thank you for your support last session of legislation to implement a health insurance exchange in Michigan, and to urge you this session to vote YES on HB 4111, which would appropriate the $30.7 million in federal funding that has been awarded to the state to develop our state’s partnership exchange.

 In February, the State of Michigan informed the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services that Michigan plans to pursue a state partnership health insurance exchange.  Under the state-federal partnership model, the state will exercise control over the exchange’s plan management and consumer assistance systems, while most of the exchange’s other functions will be controlled by the federal government.

 AARP supports implementation of a health insurance exchange in Michigan as an important step toward our association’s vision of affordable, quality health care for all.  We appreciate the leadership that the Michigan Senate has provided on this issue to date, and we look forward to continuing to work with the Legislature and the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs to ensure that consumers’ best interests will be foremost in the governance and operation of the exchange.

 With the passage of HB 4111, Michigan will be taking an important step toward ensuring that more Michiganders will have access to affordable, quality health care for years to come.  Passing House Bill 4111 also makes fiscal sense.  Under federal law, health insurance exchanges of all types (state, state-federal partnership, and federally-facilitated) are required to open for enrollment by October 1, 2013, and to be fully-operational by January 1, 2014.  If Michigan refuses to accept this $30.7 million in federal funds, the state will still be on the hook for developing our state’s partnership exchange; however, the state will need to use state general fund dollars to do so, instead of these federal funds.

 We appreciated your willingness to stand up for the people of Michigan the last time health exchange legislation came before you, and we thank you in advance for standing up for the majority of the people again this session.  If you have any questions or if there is further information we can provide, please feel free to contact Felicia Wasson, our Associate State Director for Government Affairs, at 517-267-8917 or fwasson@aarp.org.

 Sincerely,

Jacqueline Morrison, AARP Michigan State Director

William McCarty, AARP Michigan Interim State President

           

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