WASHINGTON - The District of Columbia, Kentucky and New York have been granted conditional approval to operate state-based health insurance exchanges.
The Department of Health and Human Services announced Friday that the district and the two states have joined six other states in earning conditional approval. Colorado, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Maryland, Oregon and Washington were approved earlier this week.
The exchanges are a key component of the Obama administration's health care overhaul. They're intended to make it easy for individuals and small businesses to buy health insurance.
The deadline for states to notify Washington if they will set up their own exchanges is midnight Friday. Nineteen states _ all led by Republicans _ have signaled that they will not create the markets, leaving the task to the federal government.
(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)
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