Governor Haslam mulls fate of Tennessee health insurance exchange
Tennessee is among several states in the U.S. that have been weighing options concerning the establishment of a health insurance exchange. Last month, legislative inaction threatened to derail the state’s ability to meet with federal guidelines. This inaction left the matter squarely in the hands of Governor Bill Haslam, whom is not a staunch supporter of the Affordable Care Act, but also not its largest critic. Governor Haslam has announced that the state could build its own health insurance exchange with the resources it has, but doing so would require the support of the state’s General Assembly, the majority of which is strongly opposed to the Affordable Care Act.
States compelled to submit exchange plans by end of week
All states have until the end of this week to report to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services their plans to establish a health insurance exchange. If states cannot comply with this regulation, they run the risk of losing control of their exchange to the federal government. This such cases, states would not be able to regulate the exchange or how policies are sold therein. Each state must have a working exchange in place by 2014.
Politics may derail exchange plans for Tennessee
The decision to build a health insurance exchange in Tennessee rests with Governor Haslam. The governor notes that there are many benefits for the state running its own exchange, but that politics may play the most significant role in establishing such a system. The Governor admits that it will be difficult to convince the state’s legislators that building an exchange program in Tennessee will be the best option. Without the support of these legislators, building a health insurance exchange in Tennessee before the 2014 deadline may be impossible.
Haslam continues evaluation of political climate
Governor Haslam is currently evaluating the political environment in Tennessee to determine a course of action. By the end of the week, he will deliver his ruling to the Department of Health and Human Services. If Haslam finds that the state cannot built its own exchange, the federal agency will take over the effort and build one in the state itself.