GOP Governors Betting Against Obamacare

Thursday, 01 Mar 2012 12:29 PM

By Greg McDonald

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A dozen states are putting off the implementation of state-run heath insurance exchanges until the Supreme Court rules this summer on the constitutionality of Obamacare, according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. The health insurance exchanges are a key component of the 2010 healthcare reform law engineered by President Barack Obama.

But according to the center, the governors or state legislatures in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Michigan, Missouri, Nebraska, South Dakota, Texas, Virginia, and Wisconsin are taking a wait-and-see attitude, which could come back to hurt them, depending on how the court rules. All the states are headed by Republican governors, except for Missouri.
 
As things stand now, states have the authority to set up their own competitive exchanges, or marketplaces, where individuals and businesses can pick from a variety of insurance programs designed to be affordable and comprehensive, according to the center.
 
But if the court upholds the law, the holdout states could be forced to allow the federal government to set up exchanges for them. That is a scenario that some governors have complained would amount to a one-size-fits-all approach to providing health coverage.
 
Each state has until January of 2013 to submit their exchange programs for verification, a process that requires plenty of time to set up eligibility requirements, enrollment, and management systems, followed by a period of testing.
 
Enrollment in the programs is scheduled to begin in October 2013 and consumers are expected to start buying from the exchanges beginning in January 2014.
 
“It’s hard to imagine how a state could take all the necessary legislative, policy, operational, and IT system development steps needed to meet this compressed timeline if it doesn’t start work until the summer,” the center noted in an article posted Wednesday.

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