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D.C. Formally Commits To Health Care Exchange

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D.C. is pressing ahead with its plans to create a state-run health insurance exchange. The District formally declared its intent to develop a health exchange Monday, joining more than a dozen states that have promised to implement provisions of the Affordable Care Act. 

States have until the middle of next month to decide if they want to set up and run the exchange or let the federal government take charge. 

The city's letter of intent moves D.C. "one step closer" to becoming one of the first states to implement the healthcare legislation, according to a statement from the District's new health benefit exchange authority.

D.C. is one of the few places choosing to merge the insurance markets for small businesses and individuals. Because approximately 93 percent of D.C. residents have health insurance, city officials say they need to combine the two risk pools to make it a viable market — although the city's business community has opposed the plan. 

Dr. Muhammad Akhter, the former D.C. Department of Health director who was tapped by mayor Vincent Gray to chair the authority, expects D.C. to begin enrollment in the exchange by next October.

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