The Ohio House has passed a bill to require training and certification for a new group of professionals who will be available to guide consumers through the new health insurance exchange.
The measure cleared Wednesday on a 56-32 vote, and it now heads to the Senate.
These so-called health navigators will help educate consumers and small businesses about the new online markets created by the federal health care law. Through these exchanges, consumers will be able to buy individual private policies and apply for government subsidies to help pay their premiums.
Governor Kasich has told the federal government Ohio will not set up its own health insurance exchange and will instead leave that to the feds. That decision is being praised by Maurice Thompson with the conservative 1851 Center.
"We’re very happy with the administration’s decision not to enter a state based exchange because we were either going to have to file a lawsuit against the state if it entered one or against the federal government if they didn’t," says Thompson.
Advocates for the federal health care law are celebrating the start of the countdown toward October 1 of next year, when 1.5 million uninsured Ohioans can start shopping a health insurance marketplace called an exchange. But there’s still a lot of uncertainty about who will set up and run that exchange.