[news] States given more time to work on health exchanges
The Obama administration gave states extra time to work toward setting up new health insurance exchanges on Friday, three days after President Barack Obama’s re-election ensured the survival of his healthcare reform law.
The move is seen as a concession to dozens of states that delayed compliance with the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act until after the November 6 election. Republican governors in some states had hoped to see a victory for the party’s presidential challenger Mitt Romney, who had vowed to repeal the law.
But with a November 16 deadline to declare their plans looming, many need more time to prepare for the exchanges, which are complex marketplaces designed to allow working families the chance to purchase private insurance at subsidized rates beginning in 2014.
In cases where states decide not to participate at all, the federal government says it will go in and build an exchange on its own. Since Tuesday’s election, governors in seven states – including Texas, Kansas, Virginia and Florida – have said they will refuse to proceed with an exchange.
“The administration would like to do whatever it can to bring states in,” said Larry Levitt, a healthcare policy expert with the nonpartisan Kaiser Family Foundation, which tracks health issues.
“It’s always been expected that if the president got reelected, a lot of states sitting on the sidelines would realize they don’t want the federal government building a state health insurance system. That’s what we’re seeing happening.”
U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said in a November 9 letter to governors that the administration still expects states to declare whether they intend to operate their own exchanges by next Friday. But they now have until December 14 to file blueprints showing how they would operate the marketplaces. So far, about 13 states are well on their way to setting up their own exchanges.
via Reuters | continue reading