Half the country decides not to run health insurance exchanges
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has announced that the federal government will officially be operating health insurance exchanges in approximately half the states in the country. These exchanges are part of the Affordable Care Act, the federal health care law that has been very unpopular in some states. These states have shown continued opposition to the federal law, suggesting that it violates people’s constitutional rights and claiming that it will have a catastrophic impact on the nation’s economy. In these states, the federal government will be responsible for building and operating a health insurance exchange.
State officials express financial and political concerns
Among the states that have refused to operate their own health insurance exchanges are Texas, Florida, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey. New Jersey Governor Chris Christie issued a letter to the Department of Health and Services late last week informing the agency that it would not be pursuing a state-run health insurance exchange. According to Christie, a state-run exchange is not in the state’s best interests and the matter will be left to the federal government. Several states that had remained undecided on the issue, such as Ohio, officially declared that they would not build an exchange system themselves due to financial or political concerns.
Insurance regulators show some worry
What this could mean for consumers is as yet unclear. Health insurance regulators in some states have pushed heavily for state-run exchange systems because they believed that such programs would better address the problems of a state’s health insurance market. These regulators have expressed concerns that the federal government may adopt a very generic approach to health insurance exchanges that might not be adequate for the markets in particular states.
Federal government to work to ensure health insurance is affordable for consumers
Approximately 12 million people throughout the country are expected to gain access through health insurance exchanges when they go live in every state next year. The number of those attaining coverage through exchanges is estimated to reach 29 million nationwide by 2021. There are still concerns over how much health insurance will cost throughout the country, despite the federal government taking steps to ensure that coverage is as affordable as possible.