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    Governor signs executive order creating statewide health insurance exchange


    ALBANY — With the stroke of a pen Thursday, Gov. Cuomo moved Obamacare closer to reality in New York.

    The governor, sidestepping opposition from state Senate Republicans, signed an executive order creating a statewide health insurance exchange — a key component of the President’s health care overhaul.

    “Establishing the health exchange will bring true competition into the health care marketplace, driving costs down across the state,” Cuomo said in a statement.

    The exchange is intended to give small businesses and individuals a central marketplace to purchase insurance coverage at cheaper rates.

    Cuomo had initially sought to create an insurance exchange through his 2012-13 budget proposal, but the GOP-run state Senate refused to go along with it, forcing the governor to issue the executive order.

    Sen. Greg Ball (R-Putnam County) blasted Cuomo for rushing ahead with a program that he believes could eventually cost taxpayers billions of dollars.

    “Any rush toward enacting Obamacare is more political than reality,” Ball said, noting the pending Supreme Court decision on the constitutionality of the health care law.

    Cuomo said the exchange will be funded by the feds and “impose no cost on the state.” The state needed to act, he said, before the feds stepped in and created the exchange .

    Under the law, the exchange must be ready to accept insurance applications by October 2013 and be fully operational by Jan. 1, 2014. (ARTICLE)