States saying 'no' to healthcare exchanges

Dec. 15, 2012 at 4:32 PM
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WASHINGTON, Dec. 15 (UPI) -- More than half of U.S. states have turned up their noses at setting up their own health insurance exchanges, the Obama administration said Friday.

As the deadline for states to notify Washington of their intentions, federal officials said they knew of 17 states planning to run their own exchanges under the new healthcare law, The New York Times reported. New York, Kentucky and the District of Columbia received conditional approval of their plans Friday, the newspaper said. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius gave preliminary approval Monday to plans in Colorado, Connecticut, Maryland, Massachusetts, Oregon and Washington.

In states that have rejected the option of running their own exchanges, doubts flourished concerning what burdens the program may ultimately impose on them.

"Despite repeated requests for information, we have not had any clear direction or answers from Washington until recent days," Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell said.

The exchanges are meant to give people a way to shop for private health insurance and obtain federal subsidies to cover part of the cost. The Congressional Budget Office estimates 25 million people will eventually be covered through the exchanges.

The federal government will set up and run exchanges in states that don't want to create their own.

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