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Dem Congressman: Small biz may not get affordable health insurance option next year


WASHINGTON D.C. (WTAQ) - House Democrat Ron Kind of La Crosse says small businesses might not get an affordable health insurance option next year under the new exchanges in the Obama reform law.

Kind proposed an exchange called “SHOP,” providing affordable coverage for small firms, family farms, and the self-employed. But federal health officials say the package won’t be ready until at least 2015 – and Kind says there’s a real possibility that small businesses will not have more than one exchange to choose from next year.

He says it defeats the purpose of the Obama health exchanges – which were meant to offer competitive services with the goal of driving down premiums.

Kind said he would keep working with the Health and Human Services Department to see if his package can be sped up.

Wisconsinites will use whatever exchanges the federal government provides, after Governor Scott Walker rejected the idea of letting the state set up its own.

Democrats said Wisconsin blew a chance to set up coverage that’s tailor-made for its residents. But the Republican Walker said it would have cost the state more money in the long run.