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Kansas returns health insurance exchange grant

Reuters Health, August 10, 2011

Kansas became on Tuesday the second U.S. state to return a large federal grant meant to help it create a prototype health insurance exchange as part of the Obama administration's healthcare overhaul. Republican Governor Sam Brownback said the state would give back the $31.5 million it received from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to become an early leader, along with six other states, in establishing health insurance exchanges that other local government could use as a model. Exchanges are meant to provide an open marketplace of competing insurance plans that allow uninsured people and small businesses to band together to negotiate cheaper rates. Kansas's move brings the total amount of the returned exchange-related federal grants to almost $90 million as Republican governors seek to block implementation of the healthcare law supported largely by Democratic lawmakers. Experts warn that many states are falling far behind schedule for a smooth and timely roll-out of the reform.