Obamacare countdown: States all over the map on insurance markets
States have until Dec. 14 to decide whether they will implement their own insurance exchanges under 'Obamacare' or have the federal government do it. Many governors have already refused to set up exchanges.
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It's a difficult situation for such states – particularly those with conservative governors and legislatures strongly supportive of state control. Most of them had been part of the lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act. And even though the US Supreme Court mostly upheld Obamacare, they're not ready to capitulate.Skip to next paragraph
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"As long as the federal government has the ability to force unknown mandates and costs upon our citizens, while retaining the sole power in approving what an exchange looks like, the notion of a state exchange is merely an illusion," Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) wrote to Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius.
Republican Govs. Scott Walker in Wisconsin, Nathan Deal in Georgia, Sam Brownback in Kansas, Dave Heineman in Nebraska, and Robert Bentley in Alabama, along with Gov.-elect Mike Pence (R) in Indiana, said essentially the same thing in announcing that they would not be crafting insurance exchanges, which means Washington will do it for them.
That's not necessarily a popular stand. A recent Associated Press poll found that 63 percent of Americans would prefer states to run the exchanges; 32 percent favor federal control.
Republicans aren't the only ones unhappy. Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon (D) would like to set up an insurance exchange, but he had to tell Secretary Sebelius he can't. On Election Day, Missouri voters approved a ballot measure prohibiting the governor from establishing an exchange unless it is authorized by the state legislature or the public.
In Florida, meanwhile, Gov. Rick Scott (R) has decided that fighting to prevent Obamacare is no longer an option. He told Sebelius he's now willing to work with the Obama administration in setting up an exchange.