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Give health care exchange burden back to administration

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POSTED: December 4, 2012 12:10 p.m.

State-based health-insurance exchanges are to play a key role in transforming the nation’s health care and insurance industries under The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, better known as Obamacare. The exchanges are designed to serve as markets for individuals and small business to shop for private insurance coverage, under greatly enlarged federal regulations.

Each state can decide for itself whether or not to create its own exchange. And nearly 20 states — after weighing the expected costs and bureaucratic nightmares involved in the exchanges — have already told the Obama administration, in so many words, to take their exchanges and dump them in a bedpan.

Georgia is the latest state to do so.

“We have no interest in spending our tax dollars on an exchange that is state-based in name only,” declared Gov. Nathan Deal in a press release Nov. 16. “I would support a free market-based approach that could serve as a useful tool for Georgia’s small businesses, but federal guidelines forbid that. Instead, restrictions on what the exchanges can and can’t offer render meaningless the suggestion that Georgia could tailor an exchange that best fits the unique needs of its population.”

Deal went on to cite the unknown costs of such exchanges, their lack of flexibility and the loss of state control. Add to that the fact that they would be an administrative nightmare full of incredibly complex rules and mandates, probably requiring the creation of additional costly state bureaucracy. ...

The original deadline for governors to decide whether to create such exchanges was Nov. 16. But the response has been such a belly-flop that Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius has now extended the deadline to Dec. 14. In other words, an extra month of arm-twisting by Team Obama.

Deal should stick to his original decision, thereby helping shift the burden and costs of the exchanges back on the administration that passed the law.

 

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