Iowa is among 13 states awarded a federal grant to build new “insurance exchanges” that are to help individuals and small businesses find health care coverage.
According to a news release from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the $7 million grant to the Iowa Department of Public Health will finance “insurance market research” and other work to get the exchange up and running by January, 2013.
However, Iowa’s governor has joined a lawsuit challenging the national health care reform law, and this grant comes as a result of that law. A spokesman for the governor hasn’t yet said whether the state will accept the $7 million.
Chiquita Brooks-LaSure, director of coverage policy at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, says her agency is encouraging states to accept the money, despite objections to other parts of the health care reform legislation.
“It is a bipartisan concept to establish exchanges and there’s support from both sides of the aisle and we continue to encourage states to come in and move forward and not let anything stand in the way,” Brooks-LaSure says, “and we’re confident that the law will be upheld.”
LaSure made her comments this morning during a telephone conference call with reporters.