Politics & Government
3:07 pm
Thu February 28, 2013

Michigan House votes to spend federal money on health care exchange

The Affordable Care Act requires that for those Americans who can afford it, they must carry some form of health insurance starting on January 1st, 2014 or pay a fee.

Online 'health care exchanges' will be set up to help people buy health insurance who can't access it through an employer. If the states don't set up an exchange, the federal government will.

Gov. Snyder wanted legislators to set up a state-run exchange last year, but Republican legislators refused to vote on it, hoping the federal health care law would be overturned.

That didn't happen and the timeline for a state run exchange has passed.

Now some state Republicans are reluctantly voting in favor of a setting up a federal-state run exchange.

More from Tim Martin of MLive:

The bill – approved by a 78-31 vote – next goes to the Senate.

Republicans hold the majority over Democrats in both chambers. Some Republicans opposed the measure, and others supported it -- and said they did so with reluctance.

House Speaker Jase Bolger released a statement saying the House vote today was about protecting "Michigan taxpayers and families from a massive and unwelcome federal overreach."

The vote means the state would accept nearly $31 million in federal money to set up the exchange.

From Bolger's statement:

"While accepting the planning grant may be politically unpopular with some, it is the best remaining option to help Michigan’s residents. Because of the protections we put in place as a condition for accepting the federal money, Michigan can now plan on how we can have some say over the way health care is offered to our families here."

Open enrollment in the health care exchange is set to begin on October 1st, 2013.