State lawmakers passed a bill to set up a health insurance exchange yesterday (Wed. 5.4.11). The bi-partisan bill proved one of the most controversial measures of the legislative session.
Colorado Public Radio Health Reporter Eric Whitney has a look at what's next.
 
WHITNEY : What's next for the Tea Party, which was unable to stop the exchange bill, is dusting itself off and getting ready for next year. Nancy Rumfeldt with Freedom Watch in Loveland testified against the bill. She says the Tea Party had some influence on it early, but then lost it. 16-31

RUMFELDT: Y'know I just really see the Tea Party learning a lot from this last session, and figuring out what worked, what didn't and just being stronger, and better and more focused and organized. 14-45

WHITNEY: What's next for state government? It has to set up a new, Health Benefits Exchange board.  A total of nine members will be appointed by Governor Hickenlooper and the party leaders from the state House and Senate. The panel will write rules for the exchange, which is supposed to be a new marketplace for health insurance that drives costs down.

Setting up and running the board shouldn't cost state government much, says Sue Burch, the Governor's lead on the exchange. 

BURCH: We don't expect that there will be significant impacts on state funds at this point, because of the opportunities through the ACA, the health care reform act from the feds.

WHITNEY: Colorado already got a million dollar exchange planning grant from Washington back in October.  Joan Henneberry is in charge of it. She says not much specific can be said about Colorado's exchange until the board is seated.

HENNEBERRY: it's really hard to speculate at this point how much flexibility we're going to have, and what kinds of processes we're going to have to follow when we want to make execptions to certain rules, and waivers from those rules, and what the consequences of those waivers will be. We just don't know yet, it's way too early.

WHITNEY: Henneberry says the goal is for the exchage board  to be fully appointed in July. She says it will have new economic studies to help it craft an exchange that meets market needs in Colorado.