KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Republican Govs’ Decision To Forego Exchanges Will Bring In Federal Option, Others Still On Fence

Politico: How Red-State Governors Are Opening The Doors To Obamacare
Bobby Jindal’s got a funny way of showing how much he hates Obamacare and Washington bureaucracy: The Louisiana governor's about to invite the feds to set up a health insurance exchange right in his backyard. So is Rick Perry in Texas. Ditto for John Kasich in Ohio. And Scott Walker in Wisconsin. These Republican governors, and more than a dozen others in red states around the country, have decided it’s better to have Obamacare forced on them than to legitimize it by setting up their own exchanges, even if that means empowering the federal government at the expense of the states (Allen, 11/17).

The New York Times: G.O.P. Governors Ready To Hold Line On Obama Policies
When most people talk about divided government, they mean the gridlock in Washington where the Democratic president jousts with the Republican House. But the more interesting divide may well be between President Obama and the growing ranks of Republican governors who will help decide the fate of many of his policies. Even as Mr. Obama was handily re-elected to a second term this month, Republicans won their 30th governor’s seat. Now, many of the same governors who tried and failed to block the president’s health care law in court are being charged with putting it into place (Cooper, 11/16).

The New York Times: States Decline To Set Up Exchanges For Insurance
Georgia, Ohio and Wisconsin joined more than a dozen other states on Friday in saying they would not establish health insurance exchanges, while a handful of other states said they would take advantage of an extra month allowed by the Obama administration to make decisions (Pear and Goodnough, 11/16).

The Los Angeles Times: More GOP Governors Decline To Create Health Insurance Exchanges
More Republican governors announced Friday they would not implement a key part of the new healthcare law, despite a new attempt by the Obama administration to give states more time to develop plans to put the Affordable Care Act in place. Ohio Gov. John Kasich, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker and Maine Gov. Paul LePage joined more than a dozen GOP governors who have notified the administration they will not set up state insurance exchanges next year, instead leaving the job to the federal government (Levey, 11/16). 

The Associated Press: Walker's Health Care Decision Ripped By Democrats
Gov. Scott Walker's decision to hand off creation of an online marketplace to connect Wisconsin consumers with private health insurance providers riled Democrats and others who hoped he would support a state-run exchange despite his opposition to the federal law. ... By not setting up its own exchange, Wisconsin will lose control over several key decisions over how easily consumers will be able to compare insurance plans, what plans can be sold through the exchange, what the plans must cover and their cost (Bauer, 11/16).

Kaiser Health News: Florida Gov. Rick Scott Ready To Negotiate State Exchange
Florida Gov. Rick Scott said Friday that he’s open to building a state-based health insurance exchange under the health care law — but only if he can find a way to pay for it that doesn’t increase health costs or state taxes (Galewitz, 11/16).

The Associated Press: Lawmakers Brace For Health Law, Potential Costs
Indiana lawmakers can add confusion over the federal health insurance law to their already overflowing plate when they return for their 2013 legislative session in January. ... Governor-elect Mike Pence answered an immediate question last week when he said Indiana would not run its own exchange and effectively shut the door on running an exchange in cooperation with the federal government. But he has until Feb. 16 to actually close that door (LoBianco, 11/18).

The Associated Press: W.Va. Near Obama Health Coverage Exchange Decision
West Virginia officials expect to partner with the federal government to operate a new insurance marketplace called for by the federal health care overhaul, but say their choice appears limited by projected costs, tight timing and questions left unanswered by the Obama administration. A state-federal partnership is one of three options for running this marketplace, known as an exchange (Messina, 11/18). 

The Associated Press: GOP Govs Of Iowa, Neb. Differ On Health Exchanges
Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad said Friday that his administration will continue to work on a state-based exchange, but he left open the possibility of defaulting to a federal exchange or some combination of the two. In Nebraska, Gov. Dave Heineman declared the state-based exchange too expensive and told the federal government to build one for his state (Schulte, 11/18).

Minnesota Public Radio: State Health Insurance Exchange Will Cost More Than Earlier Estimates
A state health insurance exchange will cost $54 million in 2015 to operate, says the Dayton administration. The cost comes in at greater than earlier estimates of $30 to $40 million. The state would not have to find the money until 2015, when the state exchanges are required to be financially self-sustaining. But the cost rises to $64 million in 2016. State officials are still weighing how the exchange will pay for itself. Options include user fees, a sin tax, and selling ads (Stawicki, 11/16).

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