Senate committee advances bill for health care exchange

Associated PressFebruary 3, 2012 

The Senate Finance Committee has advanced legislation that would establish a health care exchange in Alaska.

An exchange is a marketplace for coverage options. Under the federal health care law, the government could step in and establish exchanges in states where none exist.

SB70, if passed, would take effect July 1. The next stop for the bill is a floor vote.

The state health department has hired a consultant to evaluate such things as the cost of the exchange and its impact on the market, and Commissioner William Streur says that process will continue.

The bill's lead sponsor, Sen. Hollis French, has said that the Legislature must be involved in this issue, in part because it represents a big a change in state policy.

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