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Work Continuing on Health Reform Despite Opposition

Despite lingering opposition to federal health reform, Kansas Insurance Commissioner Sandy Praeger says the state should continue to implement the law.

Praeger is using a $31 million federal grant to design a new online exchange that at least 240,000 Kansans are expected to use to purchase health insurance starting in 2014. Consumers will also use the Web-based system – which Praeger says will function much like an online travel site – to determine whether they’re eligible for government subsidies.

Conservative Republicans have warned that legislation needed to create the exchange will face stiff opposition next session. But Praeger – a moderate Republican – says she has to move forward to meet deadlines in both the law and the grant.

Praeger says if lawmakers reject the enabling legislation, the federal government will set up and run the Kansas exchange. If that happens, she says, it could put Kansas-based insurance companies at a competitive disadvantage to large national companies.

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