Christie, Scott hold the line on ObamaCare exchanges

posted at 8:41 pm on February 15, 2013 by Erika Johnsen

The clock ran down today on ObamaCare’s already-extended deadlines for states to figure out whether they’d be formulating their own state-run health insurance exchanges, resigning the task over to the federal government, or forging some kind of partnership — and three more GOP-led states have reported that they’re officially disinclined to acquiesce the Obama administration’s request. Via The Hill:

Three Republican governors said Friday they will not work with the Obama administration to establish new insurance exchanges in their states.

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, Florida Gov. Rick Scott and Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam said they would not embrace a “partnership” model for their exchanges — the central component of President Obama’s healthcare law. …

The governors’ rejections mean that the federal government will run exchanges in New Jersey, Florida and Tennessee.

Although all three governors had already rejected operating a fully state-run exchange, they were toying with the ideas of forming some kind of federal partnership, and Chris Christie and Rick Scott’s decisions were by no means a sure thing. Gov. Rick Scott was one of ObamaCare’s original outspoken opponents, but Florida going for Obama in November apparently made him momentarily reconsider his options — and Chris Christie, a Republican governor in a very blue state, has the somewhat politically conflicting interests of both his gubernatorial reelection and his 2016 presidential ambitions in mind. Forming a federal partnership would have flown fairly okay with New Jersey but not so much with the wider conservative base; hence the, ‘I’m not being uncooperative, I’m just doing whats best for New Jersey’ line:

“My Administration is committed to meeting our obligation to comply with the Affordable Care Act, but only in a manner that is the most effective and efficient for the residents of New Jersey, and the businesses that will carry the costs of this new program,” Christie said in a statement as he rejected the partnership exchange. …

“In order to move forward in a manner that best meets that standard for our families and businesses, and that ensures that all New Jerseyans have access to the best healthcare options supported by the most effective insurance coverage, I have determined that federal operation of the Exchange is the responsible choice for our state,” he said.

I doubt the Obama administration is going to be super pleased about this — they’ve promised that the insurance exchanges will all be ready by their scheduled rollout next fall, but this is not going to do anything to help mitigate their insane workload.


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