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THE MUSINGS OF A TRADITIONAL SOUTHERN DEMOCRAT

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Location: Douglas, Coffee Co., The Other Georgia, United States

Sid in his law office where he sits when meeting with clients. Observant eyes will notice the statuette of one of Sid's favorite Democrats.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Most Governors Refuse to Set Up Health Exchanges

From The New York Times:

The Obama administration said Friday that more than half the states had rejected its pleas to set up their own health insurance exchanges, dealing a setback to President Obama’s hopes that Republicans would join a White House campaign to provide health insurance to all Americans.

Friday was the deadline for states to notify the federal government of their plans, and administration officials had been hoping that Mr. Obama’s re-election would overcome resistance to the new health care law.

Federal officials said they knew of 17 states that intended to run their own exchanges, as Congress intended.
 
The exchanges are online supermarkets where people can shop for private health insurance and obtain federal subsidies to help defray the cost. The Congressional Budget Office has estimated that 25 million people will eventually receive coverage through the exchanges.

Federal officials and federal contractors will set up and run the exchange in any state that is unable or unwilling to do so.
 
The concept of an exchange is simple: Competition will drive down prices. But operating an exchange is an immense technical challenge requiring sophisticated information technology to digest and display huge amounts of data on the costs and benefits of various insurance plans.
 
Administration officials said they were delighted this week when a Republican governor, C. L. Otter of Idaho, announced plans to establish a state-run exchange.
 
However, Mr. Otter’s rationale provided little comfort to the administration. He said he did not want to surrender power to “federal bureaucrats.” He denounced “the mandates and overreaching federal authority of the Affordable Care Act.” He said the law “will do little or nothing to reduce costs while force-feeding us coverage and increasing the size and scope of government.” And he said his decision could be rescinded if the State Legislature disagreed with him.
 
Pennsylvania seriously considered running its own exchange, but Gov. Tom Corbett said on Wednesday that he would not pursue the idea.
 
“State authority to run a health insurance exchange is illusory,” Mr. Corbett said. “In reality, Pennsylvania would end up shouldering all of the costs by 2015, but have no authority to govern the program.”

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