Update: Governor chooses federal health exchange plan

By: Kayla Bremer

Governor Dave Heineman made his choice that Nebraska will let the federal government handle the health insurance exchange.  It's is marketplace where individuals and small businesses can comparison shop for insurance.

He cited the state–based option is too expensive and would cost taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars.  He says it was full of federal mandates and Nebraska would have little control.

“The cost of a state exchange to Nebraska taxpayers is $470 million more than a federal exchange,” Heineman said.

Heineman says the Affordable Care Act is being totally dictated and controlled by the federal government.

“Right now it's very clear,” Heineman said.  “They're totally in charge, they're totally controlling the process and it's very expensive to do a state exchange.”

Senator Mike Johanns supports the decision.  He says a state–run exchange would raise taxes and cut funding to vital state services.

Nebraska Appleseed, an advocacy for low–income families is also on board.

“Whoever is going to run the exchange, we are very focused on whether it is oriented towards the consumer…making things easy to understand, accessible, affordable and really making it about coverage for people,” Jennifer Carter said.

State Senator Jeremy Nordquist fired back saying the Governor has given power to federal bureaucrats.

“The Governor has missed a tremendous opportunity to create a new and improved health insurance marketplace, designed for Nebraskans by Nebraskans,” Nordquist said.

The cost over the next eight years for a federal–run exchange is $176 million compared to $646 million state–based option.