Health Exchange Activity Heats Up As Deadline Is Extended | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio

NPR : News

Filed Under:

Health Exchange Activity Heats Up As Deadline Is Extended

There's nothing quite like a deadline to focus the mind. Even a deadline that's not quite real.

Friday was originally the day that states were supposed to not only tell the federal government whether they planned to run their own health exchanges but also how they planned to do it.

Last week, however, the feds extended that deadline, so states would have to only say yay or nay by Friday on the issue of running their own exchanges. If they want to partner with the federal government, they can wait until as late as February to speak up.

And no matter what, if a state fails to act, the federal government will set up an exchange in that state for it.

Thursday night, shortly after this story was posted, that deadline got extended again. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius told states in a letter they could now wait until Dec. 14 to submit both their decision and their plans if they want to do an exchange themselves.

Still, flimsy or not, Friday's deadline prompted considerable activity this week from states that had been waiting to see what impact last week's election might have on the Affordable Care Act. (Answer: Full speed ahead.)

Thursday afternoon alone, three governors — South Carolina Republican Nikki Haley, Nebraska Republican Dave Heineman and outgoing North Carolina Democrat Bev Perdue — all announced their decisions. The Republicans said they would not be pursuing exchanges in their states; Perdue said North Carolina would very likely pursue the partnership model, a hybrid state-federal exchange.

Haley announced her decision in a letter to Sebelius. "The law fails to give South Carolina any flexibility and decision-making authority that would enable us to truly construct the program in a manner that would offer the most meaningful benefit to our citizens," Haley wrote.

Nebraska's Heineman echoed those sentiments. "The reality is that the federal health care law is being totally dictated and totally controlled by the federal government," he said in a statement.

Heineman also said that building the exchange would cost the state too much money, even though federal funds are available to offset those costs.

In Indiana, Gov.-elect Mike Pence, currently a Republican member of the U.S. House, sent a letter to outgoing Gov. Mitch Daniels, also a Republican, urging that the state not establish its own exchange.

Some governors who previously said they would not participate are reaffirming those decisions, including Texas Republican Rick Perry. His spokeswoman told The Texas Tribune today that the state won't design its own exchange because there is "really no such thing as a 'state exchange.' "

But others appear to be changing their tune, most notably Rick Scott, Florida's Republican governor. After vowing to have no part of the health law, Scott earlier this week told The Associated Press he wants "to get to yes" and is ready to negotiate with federal officials.

Copyright 2012 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

NPR

Jon Stewart's Replacement Is Unlikely Choice For 'The Daily Show'

"The Daily Show" replaces departing host Jon Stewart with South African comedian Trevor Noah. He is a relatively unknown comedian and an unlikely choice for the program.
NPR

Our Food-Safety System Is A Patchwork With Big Holes, Critics Say

More than a dozen federal agencies play a part in keeping food from making Americans sick. Critics say the system has gaps, and we'd all be safer if federal food safety efforts were under one roof.
WAMU 88.5

Q&A: Maryland State Sen. John Astle On 'Welcome Home Vietnam Veterans Day'

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan signed a bill into law Monday evening declaring every March 30 "Welcome Home Vietnam Veterans Day." WAMU spoke with Astle at his office in Annapolis.
NPR

Bringing Internet To The Far Corners Of The Earth

About 5 billion people are mostly or entirely disconnected from the Internet. So to capitalize on this opportunity, Google and Facebook have begun high-profile campaigns to connect the unconnected.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.