Governor Andrew Cuomo issued an executive order Thursday creating a health care exchange in New York, an online marketplace where consumers can shop for competing health insurance plans (think Travelocity or Orbitz).
The move brings New York into compliance with President Obama's Affordable Care Act which requires each state to have a health exchange by 2014. 11 other states have set up the exchanges.
Unable to garner enough support in the state legislature, Cuomo-- who is enjoying high approval ratings-- decided to do it on his own.
"The bottom line is that creating this health exchange will lower the cost of health insurance for small businesses, local governments, and individual New Yorkers across the state. The sky-high cost of insurance in New York is driving businesses out of the state and preventing lower income New Yorkers from being able to afford needed coverage," the Governor said in a statement. “Establishing the health exchange will bring true competition into the health care marketplace, driving costs down across the state."
Of course, some state lawmakers aren't too happy with the governor's decision, namely with the fact that the executive order was issued while the very constitutionality of Obama's Affordable Care Act is under review by the US Supreme Court.
"Enlisting our state in a program that may cease to exist on both constitutional and administrative grounds is, in my opinion, overly aggressive and fundamentally imprudent,” Republican State Senator Gregory Ball told The New York Times.
Governor Cuomo says the program will be entirely financed by the federal government.