Ore. House panel advances insurance exchange bill



SALEM, Ore. (AP) — An Oregon legislative committee has advanced a bill that would create a health insurance exchange, paving the way for a vote of the full House.

The House Health Care Committee approved the bill on a 5-3 vote Wednesday without changing it. Democratic Co-Chair Mitch Greenlick had previously declared an impasse amid disagreement about whether the exchange should be allowed to negotiate for lower insurance rates.

Greenlick said Wednesday that legislative lawyers determined that there’s nothing to prohibit an exchange from negotiating.

An insurance exchange would help connect small businesses and individuals with more affordable health coverage and determine whether people qualify for federal subsidies under last year’s health care overhaul.

Republican co-chair Jim Thompson joined all four committee Democrats in supporting the bill. The Senate passed the bill in April.