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Governor Corbett says PA won't set up own health care exchange

Written by Tim Lambert and The Associated Press | Dec 12, 2012 5:44 PM
Thumbnail image for Tom Corbett

(Harrisburg) -- Governor Corbett says Pennsylvania won't set up its own health care exchange under the federal Affordable Care Act.

Corbett says the planning had been haphazard and setting up an exchange would be irresponsible.

He says federal authorities haven't adequately responded to questions about cost and other issues.

Many Democratic lawmakers, insurers and hospitals wanted Corbett to set up a state-run system.

The new insurance exchanges will allow households and small businesses to buy a private health plan, and many will get help from the government to pay their premiums. Under the law, states that can't or won't set up exchanges will have theirs run by the federal government.

States considering a partnership have until mid-February to make a decision.

Pennsylvania is one of 28 states that has declared it will allow the federal government to operate its exchange. By law, the decision to establish a state-based exchange can be re-evaluated by states each year.

Corbett's statement:

“For two years my administration has been engaged in careful planning around the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, continually seeking guidance from the federal government. Throughout this time, we’ve asked HHS questions to help determine costs, impacts and flexibility in order to inform our decisions.

Until this week, less than five days before the deadline for a state-based exchange decision and blueprint, we received little acknowledgement of those questions. Even HHS Secretary Sebelius recently admitted on a call with governors that the regulations released a few weeks ago were not final and that more drafts are to be expected.

Healthcare reform is too important to be achieved through haphazard planning. Pennsylvania taxpayers and businesses deserve more. They deserve informed decision making and a strong plan that responsibly uses taxpayer dollars.

Therefore, I have decided not to pursue a state-based health insurance exchange at this time. 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.

However, we will continue to seek guidance from HHS on the costs, impacts and flexibility involved in the different options for Medicaid expansion.

We must work together on solutions that provide greater access to high quality and more affordable health care coverage for Pennsylvanians.”

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