Half of States Opt Out of Running Health Exchanges

Wednesday, 20 Feb 2013 08:09 AM

By John Morgan

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A milestone passed last week for states to decide whether to create their own health insurance exchanges called for under Obamacare, and the final tally was a mish-mash in the landmark effort to use government to corral health insurance costs.

In the end, a group of 17 states plus the District of Columbia decided to run their own marketplaces, a group of 26 mostly Republican-led states deferred to the federal government to handle the work and 7 states opted for a blended state-federal partnership, Kaiser Health News reported.

The federal government hoped more states would agree to run their own exchanges, but in the final analysis, half of them decided not to get entangled directly in the mandates, regulations and costs associated with the exchanges required under Obamacare.

Editor's Note: The Final Turning Predicted for America. See Proof.

New Jersey was one of the states that officially said “no” last week.

“I have determined that federal operation of the exchange is the responsible choice for our state,” New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, a Republican, wrote in a letter to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS)

HHS Secretary Kathleen Sibelius said no matter what individual governors decided, residents in every state would have an online exchange marketplace beginning Oct. 1. The exchanges will sell healthcare coverage to individuals and small employers.

Ideally, consumers would notice little difference in how the websites work regardless of who operates them, Kaiser reported. The marketplaces are intended to offer standardized policies so consumer can easily compare plans.

According to Kaiser, “most states opted against operating an exchange, citing worries about cost and lack of real autonomy or political opposition to the health law.”

The CEO of the nation’s largest health insurance company warned he and his peers may balk at participating in the exchanges, Forbes reported.

“We will only participate in exchanges that we assess to be fair, commercially sustainable and provide a reasonable return on the capital they will require,” UnitedHealth Group CEO Stephen Hemsley said.

If insurers don’t participate, consumers seeking affordable coverage through the marketplaces will instead find few choices and high prices, Forbes reported. Taxpayers could suffer if higher premiums in the exchanges require more public spending on subsidies.

The final state-by-state tally for Obamacare health exchanges follows.

States operating their own online marketplace:
California, Colorado, Connecticut, District of Columbia, Hawaii, Idaho, Kentucky, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Nevada, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, Utah, Vermont and Washington.

States doing a partnership with the federal government:
Arkansas, Delaware, Illinois, Iowa, Michigan, New Hampshire and West Virginia.

States defaulting to the federal exchange:
Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Maine, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Jersey, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, Wisconsin and Wyoming.

Editor's Note: The Final Turning Predicted for America. See Proof.

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