WASHINGTON, Nov. 16 (UPI) -- States have until Dec. 14 to decide if they will set up their own health insurance exchanges or let the U.S. government do it, the White House said Thursday.
The announcement of the monthlong extension of the deadline from Friday was made by the Department of Health and Human Services, The Hill reported. States that do decide on their own exchanges must file specific plans by Dec. 15, while Feb. 15 is the deadline for other states to say whether they will work with the federal government or stay out of the process completely.
"States have and will continue to be partners in implementing the health care law and we are committed to providing states with the flexibility, resources and time they need to deliver the benefits of the health care law to the American people," the department said in a letter to Republican governors. "We will continue to work directly with individual states to address their particular questions and concerns."
Seventeen states have already decided on their own exchanges. The Republican Governors Association asked the Obama administration Wednesday for more time to study the question, The New York Times reported.
"States are struggling with many unanswered questions and are not able to make comprehensive, far-reaching decisions prudently," Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell, who chairs the group, and Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, the incoming chairman, said in their letter.
While most Republican governors have opposed the Affordable Care Act, known as Obamacare, some of them are now under pressure from groups in their own states or want to give their states more control over the system.
Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker said he would not announce his decision until Friday, the old deadline.
"I'd much prefer control at the state level, but the problem is, I don't think they are really state-run," Walker said.