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A Michigan state-federal health care exchange killed by Senate Republicans

The Commonwealth Fund

Michigan will be part of the federal government’s health insurance exchange, instead of being a partner in a joint effort.

That’s because the state Senate began its spring break yesterday without meeting a deadline to vote on accepting federal funds for the project.

Republicans in the state Senate defied the wishes of Governor Snyder and a lot of business groups by refusing federal funding for a joint federal-state health insurance exchange.

That’s where customers will go to comparison shop for coverage. Instead, Michigan customers will shop on the federal government’s exchange.

Governor Rick Snyder says leaving the exchange to the feds is a mistake.

"The state exchange is something I’d ultimately prefer because, otherwise, if you have a federal exchange, you’re going to have people at the federal government taking care of Michigan citizens and my preference is to have Michiganders helping Michiganders in terms of customer service," said Snyder.

State Senate Majority Leader Randy Richardville says Republicans still don’t trust the new national healthcare law will live up to what’s promised.

“I think there are just real concerns that the federal government is not prepared to enact what they forced at us," Richardville said. "And for us to sign up and say, we can do it better even though we don’t know all the things that are going to be required, well, we’re just not on board with that."

Governor Rick Snyder says he would have preferred the state be a partner in the insurance exchange.

He says the state will still have to spend about $8 million to create a portal for Michigan customers to connect to the federal exchange.

State Senate Majority Leader Randy Richardville says he considers the question pretty much dead.

“At this point in time, I’m starting to look at other things on the agenda,” said Richardville.

Rick Pluta is Senior Capitol Correspondent for the Michigan Public Radio Network. He has been covering Michigan’s Capitol, government, and politics since 1987.
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