Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley, D, is getting ready to sign H.B. 443, the Health Benefit Exchange Act of 2012.
The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 (PPACA) is supposed to create a system of Web-based health insurance distribution supermarkets for individuals and small groups. States can choose to run their own exchanges, participate in multi-state exchanges, or get exchange services from the federal government.
If PPACA takes effect as written and works as drafters and implementing agencies expect, a state will be able to choose whether to open an exchange to all carriers that meet basic quality standards or play an active role in bargaining with carriers for richer benefits packages and lower prices.
The Maryland House voted 94-44 for the bill, and the Maryland Senate voted 36-10 for the bill.