7 states get OK from Obama to build insurance markets


Associated Press

WASHINGTON

Injecting a rare shot of bipartisanship in the nation’s contentious health care overhaul, the Obama administration Thursday cleared four Republican-led states to build their own consumer-friendly insurance markets.

With open enrollment for millions of uninsured Americans just nine months away — Oct. 1 — the four GOP-led states became part of a group totaling 17 states plus Washington, D.C., that have gotten an initial go-ahead to build and run insurance exchanges. Seven were approved Thursday.

Significantly, the list also included California, which has nearly 7.5 million uninsured residents, more than any other state. Democratic-led California was an early supporter of President Barack Obama’s health care law and had been working diligently on its plan.

The approvals announced Thursday are provisional; administration officials said more work remains to be done before they’ll issue final sign-offs.

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