Iowa still awaiting decision on health insurance exchange

About 500,000 Iowans are expected to participate

About 500,000 Iowans are expected to participate in a health insurance exchange, a marketplace where individuals and small businesses can shop for health care coverage and receive subsidies.

The state received a $1 million planning grant and a $7.7 million implementation grant for its health insurance exchange, but no decisions have been made. Insurance Commissioner Susan Voss said her division is still in discussions with Gov. Terry Branstad and the Iowa Department of Human Services.

Democratic legislators’ attempts to introduce legislation were blocked by Republicans, who wanted to wait until the U.S. Supreme Court issued its ruling on the Affordable Care Act. The court upheld the law in June. The law calls for legislation to be enacted before Jan. 1, or the government will step in to establish a federally operated exchange.

Before the ruling, spokesman Tim Albrecht said Gov. Branstad thought the mandate would be overturned. Albrecht said Tuesday that Branstad has not come to a final decision. “A lot will hinge on the November election, and likely we will need to wait until then to determine exactly what Obamacare looks like,” Albrecht wrote in an email.

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