February 23, 2012Hon. Dean G. SkelosTemporary President and Majority Leader New York State Senate New York State CapitolAlbany, New York 12247Re: Health Benefit Exchange LegislationDear Senator Skelos:We are again writing to express our extreme concern that the Senate Republican Majorityhas, to date, failed to bring to the floor legislation establishing a Health Benefit Exchange for theState, as provided for in the Federal Patient Recovery and Affordable Care Act
. It isimperative that this matter be included in the fiscal year 2012-13 Enacted Budget.We are presently at a critical juncture and time is of the essence. As you are aware, theAct requires each state in the country to establish a health care exchange, or to participate in aregional exchange, through which individuals and small groups would be able to purchase healthinsurance from a qualified health-benefit plan. The Act further provides that if a state fails tocreate its own health exchange program, or to participate in a regional exchange, the federalgovernment will intervene and create a Federal Health Benefit Exchange for the State. Time isrunning out for New York to act pursuant to the federal statute.The legislation introduced last spring, and originally agreed upon by your Conference,would have brought New York into compliance with the federal legislation. We are now facedwith an application deadline of June 29, 2012, in order to receive federal funding for theestablishment of a State Health Benefit Exchange. However, we cannot wait until June to givefinal consideration to this legislation. The State needs lead time to allocate personnel andresources for the establishment of the Health Insurance Exchange. We must act now, asGovernor Cuomo has proposed, to give the Executive Branch the time needed to carry out thistask.Your Conference, without excuse or any response, ignored our previous request to enactthe health exchange as standalone legislation; you now have a chance to help New Yorkers
yourselves by including it in the Senate Majority’s budget resolution immediately. We can think
of no reason why your Conference would not do so.