Arizona Governor Jan Brewer shuts down exchange efforts
Arizona lawmakers have been wrestling with the concept of a health insurance exchange for some time. The state must host an exchange program per the Affordable Care Act, but legislators have been uncertain whether the state should build and operate the exchange itself or leave that burden to the federal government. Governor Jan Brewer has announced that the issue has been settled this week, declaring that Arizona will not be building and operating its own health insurance exchange.
Exchanges billed as way for consumers to find affordable plans
A health insurance exchange is one of the major provisions of federal health care reform. These exchange systems are meant to be online marketplaces where consumers can find affordable, yet comprehensive insurance plans. The federal government bills exchanges as a way to drive down insurance prices in the markets they operate in by creating more competition amongst insurance providers. Arizona legislators have not seen evidence of this being the case in their investigations into t he matter.
Lingering concerns over cost make lawmakers uneasy
Governor Brewer notes that the state has many unanswered questions concerning the overall cost of a health insurance exchange. The Governor has expressed concern that if the state were to build and operate its own exchange system, many of the costs associated therein would trickle down to consumers, who would end up paying more for coverage in the long term. The state has informed the Department of Health and Human Services that it will not be building a health insurance exchange. As such, the federal agency will be overseeing the establishment of an exchange in Arizona itself.
Arizona continues to oppose Affordable Care Act
Governor Brewer is a staunch opponent of the Affordable Care Act and has noted her opposition to the federal law as “unwavering.” Arizona is joined by several other states that oppose the law and have rejected the development of health insurance exchanges. Governor Brewer suggests that a state-run exchange would eventually be taken over by the federal government due to financial concerns, thus has chosen to opt out of spending funds on building an exchange in the state.