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ND GOP lawmaker pushes health insurance exchange

October 20, 2011

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BISMARCK, N.D.—A North Dakota lawmaker says the state should establish its own agency for offering health insurance plans, instead of letting the federal government do the job.

The agency would be called a "health benefit exchange." It would have rules on insurance pricing and benefits. It's supposed to make it easier for consumers to compare health plans.

Federal law requires states to have the exchanges. They can be run by the state or the federal government.

Bismarck Rep. George Keiser is chairman of a legislative committee that's drafting a bill to set up a state exchange.

It will be presented to the Legislature's special session next month.

Keiser says a state plan will be costly, but he says it's better than leaving the job to the federal government.