By Alex Nussbaum and Andrew Zajac
A Missouri law requiring licenses for counselors who help consumers find health insurance on the Obamacare exchanges was temporarily blocked by a U.S. judge, setting back a measure by a state hostile to the federal health-care overhaul statute.
Missouri is among at least a dozen Republican-led states that imposed restrictions on insurance exchange counselors, known as navigators, including licensing tests, fines as high as $1,000 and training that almost doubles the hours required by the government. The ruling was the first of its kind in a navigator case and calls into question the constitutionality of similar laws elsewhere, said Jay Angoff, an attorney with Washington-based Mehri & Skalet PLLC, which represented the Missouri groups.
“Missouri’s attempts to obstruct the Affordable Care Act with unnecessary and burdensome navigator requirements are simply preempted by federal law,” wrote Jane Perkins, an attorney for nonprofit groups that sued the state, in a statement. “On this the court is clear: federally funded navigators must be able to exercise the duties they are funded to do under federal law.” Read the full article here »