KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Health Exchange News: Ariz. Looks To Feds, Conn. And Co. Move Ahead

Arizona's Gov. Jan Brewer has decided Arizona will not implement a key part of the health law.

Reuters: Arizona Declines To Set Up State-Based Health Insurance Exchange
Arizona Governor Jan Brewer said on Wednesday she was rejecting a major provision of President Barack Obama's health care reform law that calls for creating state-based health insurance markets where consumers can purchase private, federally subsidized coverage. Citing lingering questions about the plan and operating costs she said would be passed on to families and small businesses, Brewer, a Republican, said Arizona would join at least 16 other states in opting instead for a federally run health insurance exchange (Schwartz, 11/28).

Politico Pro: Arizona Nixes State-Run Exchange
"[T]hough I am a steady advocate of local control, I have come to the conclusion that the state of Arizona would wield little actual authority over its 'state' exchange," Brewer said in a statement. "The federal government would maintain oversight and control over virtually every aspect of our exchange, limiting our ability to meet the unique needs of Arizonans and the Arizona insurance market" (Millman, 11/28).

The Associated Press/MSN: Arizona's Governor Chooses Not To Form State-Run Health Care Exchange Under Federal Law
Her announcement preceded a Dec. 14 deadline for states to declare whether they'd run their own exchanges. A decision to create an exchange would have been subject to approval by the Republican-led state Legislature. ... a Brewer push to create a state-run exchange would have faced a fight from GOP lawmakers who oppose the law. An alliance of hospitals, insurance companies and business groups wanted Arizona to have a state-run exchange, arguing that it would increase coverage while giving the state flexibility (Davenport, 11/28).

The Hill: Arizona Governor Rejects State-Based Insurance Exchange
Republican governors are under pressure from conservatives to reject state-based exchanges. They hope pushing the task to HHS will strain federal resources, a potential avenue to chip away at the Affordable Care Act without repealing it outright. But that strategy comes with practical risks. It gives the federal government more control over states' healthcare marketplaces (Baker, 11/28).

Other states are already busy considering what the new exchange will look like and how it will pay for itself by 2015, a stipulation of the health law --

CT Mirror: What Exactly Will The New Insurance Exchange Offer?
A year from now, state residents will have a new marketplace for buying health insurance -- think of it like a virtual store for health plans. And the policymakers at work developing the rules for the market are facing a key question about how much discretion to use in determining which health plans it will sell. Put another way: How selective should the shopkeeper be about what products stock its shelves? (Becker, 11/28).

Health Policy Solutions (a Colo. news service): Colorado Health Exchange Must Pay For Itself By 2015
Now a reality across the country as the Affordable Care Act steams toward full implementation, health exchanges are supposed to make it easier for individuals and small business owners to choose and buy health insurance plans. ... Colorado's exchange — which will soon have a new name — is slated to open for enrollment in October of next year with coverage that will start on Jan. 1, 2014. By Jan. 1, 2015, Colorado's health exchange must be financially self-sustaining (Kerwin McCrimmon, 11/28).

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