California has become the first state in the nation to approve a state run health exchange program.
Supporters of the health exchange say it allows individuals and small business owners to form a collective, using their combined purchasing power to drive down the cost of insurance.
Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed the bill into law, despite intense objection from some of the state's largest insurers.
Anthem Blue Cross in particular lobbied hard against the exchange as it made its way through the legislature.
---Speaker John Perez.
"The exchange is a lynchpin of the health care law, as it will ultimately provide and expand health coverage to millions of Californians, and pave the way for hundreds of thousands of uninsured children and families to purchase affordable health coverage beginning in 2014. By creating the California Health Benefit Exchange, the Governor has enabled California to begin realizing the benefits and promise of the federal health care law,"
---Deena Lahn of Children's Defense Fund of California.
"The establishment of exchanges will be of great assistance to California's 3 million small businesses. It will give us more leverage with insurance carriers and lower administrative costs for the insurance companies. Small businesses can get a better coverage package. It provides the needed information for employers and employees to make informed decisions on coverage and price."