Health care reform has been an issue for several states since its came to being back in 2010. The Affordable Care Act, which was meant to streamline both the insurance and health care industries, has been met with either extreme repulsion or lukewarm favor. Those of the former opinion have been keen to strike down the provisions of the law. One provision, however, has received almost universal acceptance. While the enthusiasm of this acceptance varies, the notion of a health insurance exchange program for each state has become popular. This may be due to the fact that each state will be responsible for regulating their own system, a boon for those railing against big government.
Despite the apparent success of the exchange concept, many are still uneasy about the provision. States are required to establish exchanges before 2014, lest they relinquish control of their programs to the federal government, who will establish the exchange in what manner they deem viable.
This deadline was originally segregated into two parts. First, states must have the framework, resources and personnel for the exchanges in place by the beginning of 2013. Second, the exchange must be fully operational and self-sustaining by 2014. Given the relatively short time frame to complete such a massive feat, many have called for a change. The federal government seems to have heeded these calls, and has relaxed its 2013 deadline.
The Department of Health and Human Services now says that the 2013 deadline is much more lenient than it had been previously. The final deadline, however, will stay in place, as it represents a line in the sand – the crossing of which will invoke action from the government. Furthermore, states that have not made adequate progress toward an exchange by the original 2013 deadline will no longer be privy to financial aid from the HHS, giving more states the incentive to act sooner rather than later.