Pennsylvania joins the ranks of states declining on setting up exchanges

The Department of Health and Human Services extended the original deadline by which states need to decide whether they will be setting up their own versions of the virtual health insurance exchanges required via the auspices of ObamaCare, or allowing (making?) the federal government to do it for them, or forging some kind of partnership with the feds to get the things done — meaning that states now have until this Friday, December 14th to report their decision to HHS. Many Republican governors have been leaning back on forth on which option to take, torn between trying to mitigate the ObamaCare-related damage as much as possible or just letting the federal government lie in the bed they made for themselves and having no part of it.

Last week, Gov. Chris Christie added New Jersey to the list of states declining to help the feds out with the massive undertaking, and Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett followed suit on Tuesday.

Pennsylvania will not set up its own health care exchange under the federal Affordable Care Act, at least not for now, Gov. Tom Corbett said Wednesday, putting the state on a course to join others led by Republicans that will let President Barack Obama’s administration run its exchange. …

“Health care reform is too important to be achieved through haphazard planning,” Corbett said. “Pennsylvania taxpayers and businesses deserve more. They deserve informed decision making and a strong plan that responsibly uses taxpayer dollars.” …

Corbett said it “would be irresponsible to put Pennsylvanians on the hook for an unknown amount of money to operate a system under rules that have not been fully written.” …

So far, 17 states and Washington, D.C., have said they will set up their own exchanges, while 20 other Republican-led states have opted to allow the federal government in. Another seven states have picked the partnership model, and the rest are trying to decide.

If I were the federal government… I’d probably be panicking right about now. The feds weren’t counting on having to accomplish the mammoth task of setting up states’ exchanges for them, and they are nowhere near ready to do so — this is going to require a hastily cobbled, big ol’ bureaucratic increase, which in and of itself will engender manifold costs and inefficiencies (ObamaCare just can’t seem to stop itself metastasizing, can it?). Corbett didn’t shut the door on the building an exchange later on, as states can decide to hop on the bandwagon every following year, but without more information and certainty from the federal government, it’s no-can-do from the Keystone State.

We should be hearing more about the final tally on the state exchanges as the week draws to a close.

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