Ohio lawmakers Thursday approved a Republican-sponsored bill to establish healthcare navigators to guide people and small businesses through an insurance exchange program mandated under Obamacare to help them choose the best coverage.
But Democrats voiced opposition to the measure, saying it was too early to set up navigators, or advisers, for an exchange that doesn't exist yet and which Ohio Gov. John Kasich does not plan to help create, reports the Cleveland Plain Dealer
Democratic Rep. John Carney said he thinks the bill, which passed by a 56-32 vote, is especially odd since Kasich’s administration recently said it plans to allow the federal government to set up and run Ohio’s exchange on its own.
"The state's essentially saying that we're going to cede the responsibility for the exchange to the federal government, except with respect to these couple of pieces we don't want to cede to them. And, frankly, I'm not sure if they're going to be allowed to do that anyway,” Carney said, according to the Plain Dealer.
Under the bill, Ohio’s superintendent of insurance would set up a program to certify and train workers to help consumers navigate and understand how the online exchange system will work. The measure would allow licensed insurance agents to apply for navigator positions, but they would have to disclose any conflict of interest to consumers regarding the companies they work for.
The exchange would also be required to keep an up-to-date list of navigators, whose roles would only be advisory. They would not be allowed to personally sell or negotiate health insurance plans on behalf of consumers.
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