HHS Again Extends Deadline For States To Set Up Health Insurance Exchanges


HHS Kathleen Sebelius is going to have one big headache when she finds out how many Republican governors aren’t going to go along with the administration and set up health insurance exchanges. She obviously knows what a hassle it’s going to be, seeing that the deadline to set up the exchanges has again been extended.

The Obama administration has given states more time to decide whether they will set up a virtual marketplace of health insurance plans required by the president’s healthcare law or let the federal government do it for them.

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius sent a letter late Thursday to Republican governors that extends the deadline — initially set for Friday — to Dec. 14 to declare their intentions for setting up state-based health exchanges mandated by the Affordable Care Act.

Under Mr. Obama’s controversial reforms, the health exchanges are supposed to be operation-ready by October 2013 so they can be activated at the start of 2014. States can set up their own exchanges, enter a partnership with the federal government or have the federal government set one up for the state. Those that opt for a partnership have until Feb. 15 to submit their intentions and applications, according to the HHS.

As of Thursday, 13 states were studying their options and four states had shown “no significant activity” in deciding whether to set up an exchange, according to state-by-state tracker from the Kaiser Family Foundation. (Read More)

There are 30 Republican governors, and most of them don’t seem too inclined to give the administration any help in implementing this horrible law. Why would they? If they do, when things go wrong, which we know they will, you know whose direction the Dems will be pointing their fingers.

The flash point, at least right now, is Obamacare. People might assume the health care plan, passed by Congress, signed by the president and upheld by the Supreme Court, will now simply go into effect. It won’t be that simple.

Obamacare directs states to establish exchanges through which uninsured people can purchase coverage. If the states don’t do it, the law says the federal government will step in and set up an exchange itself. The Obama administration has been trying to push the governors to say whether they will set up exchanges in their states. So far, most of the Republican governors seem inclined to say no.

They have several reasons. One, they believe the exchanges will cost their states a lot of money. Two, they believe the federal government will exercise ultimate control, meaning there will be little benefit for a state to do the heavy lifting to get the exchanges started. And three, some suspect the exchanges will be a disorganized and troubled enterprise, and when the implementation of Obamacare comes under criticism, the blame will lie with the administration, and not the states.

Some conservatives are urging the governors not only to stay out of the exchanges but also to reject Obamacare’s planned expansion of Medicaid. That could be a crippling blow to the health care law. “If enough states do so, Congress will have no choice but to reopen Obamacare,” Cato Institute health care scholar Michael Cannon wrote in National Review Online recently. “With a GOP-controlled House, opponents will be in a much stronger position than they were when this harmful law was enacted.” (Read More)

Republicans in Congress have been pretty useless in fighting against Obama and the Democrats, who knows, maybe the Republican governors will be more effective.