HARRISBURG — House Bill 3, sponsored by House Majority Leader Bryan Cutler, R-Lancaster, would establish a state-based health insurance exchange and reinsurance program, which would mean lower prices for Pennsylvanians who buy their health insurance on the federal exchange. The bill was slated for a vote Tuesday.

The Trump administration opened additional opportunities for states to create exchanges unique to the challenges and needs facing individual states through an executive order on President Donald Trump’s first day in office.

Rep. Martin Causer, R-Turtlepoint, supports the measure.

“Bringing the health care exchange under the state’s control will save money both for people who are purchasing their insurance through the exchange and for taxpayers because it will actually cost the state less money to run its own exchange,” Causer said. “The bill is supported by both the Trump administration and the Wolf administration.”

The cost-saving plan is also endorsed by Gov. Tom Wolf.

“The backing of both the federal and state administrations speak to why this is the right move for consumers in our Commonwealth,” Cutler added. “While there are continuing debates over the effectiveness of the Affordable Care Act at the federal level and in the courts, we should still work to make the system as responsible as possible for Pennsylvania.”

The state exchange makes no changes to the requirements, pre-existing conditions or any other enrollment requirements that exist at the federal level, and if the Affordable Care Act law changes or is eliminated, the Pennsylvania exchange would reflect those changes.

Currently, more than 400,000 Pennsylvanians buy their health insurance through healthcare.gov at a cost of $85 million to $90 million to the state in fees to run the site. Under this plan, those fees would be kept in Pennsylvania and the state Insurance Department would run the exchange. The bill now advances to the Senate for further consideration.

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