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NC panel gives first OK to health insurance market

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RALEIGH, NC (AP) -- North Carolina lawmakers are moving ahead with legislation to create a marketplace of private health plans for people who now have the hardest time finding coverage.

The House Insurance Committee gave bipartisan approval Tuesday to a bill that would create a health benefits exchange as required under the federal health overhaul law. Consumer advocates complain the language is too favorable to insurance companies who will limit the exchange to protect their profits.

The committee adopted changes that slightly lessen the power of business interests on the board overseeing the health insurance marketplace.

The measure's long road next leads to House budget writers, who want to make sure the marketplace can fund its own activities and won't rely on regular taxpayer funding.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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