Twenty Republican governors send Dept. of Health & Human Services chief Kathleen Sebelius a letter asking for control over the health insurance exchanges mandated by the Patient Protection & Affordable Care Act.
A group of Republican governors who are opposed to the healthcare reform law are asking Dept. of Health & Human Services chief Kathleen Sebelius to give them more control over the health insurance exchanges the law requires.
Twenty GOP governors, including prominent Obamacare opponent Mitch Daniels of Indiana, sent the letter yesterday asking for more say in how the exchanges are set up and run.
“Many of us believe the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) should be repealed by Congress if the courts do not strike it down first. But, with no assurance of either outcome, we face the decision of whether to participate in the bill by operating state exchanges, or to let the federal government take on that task, if the bill remains in effect in 2014,” the governors wrote (PDF). “In addition to its constitutional infringements, we believe the system proposed by the PPACA is seriously flawed, favors dependency over personal responsibility, and will ultimately destroy the private insurance market. Because of this, we do not wish to be the federal government’s agents in this policy in its present form.”
The governors want Sebelius to:
- “Provide states with complete flexibility on operating the exchange, most importantly the freedom to decide which licensed insurers are permitted to offer their products.”
- “Waive the bill’s costly mandates and grant states the authority to choose benefit rules that meet the specific needs of their citizens.”
- Waive the provisions that discriminate against consumer-driven health plans, such as health savings accounts (HSA’s).”
- “Provide blanket discretion to individual states if they chose to move non-disabled Medicaid beneficiaries into the exchanges for their insurance coverage without the need of further HHS approval.”
- “Deliver a comprehensive plan for verifying incomes and subsidy amounts for exchange participants that is not an unfunded mandate but rather fully funded by the federal government and is certified as workable by an independent auditor.”
- “Commission a new and objective assessment of how many people will end up in the exchanges and on Medicaid in every state as a result of the legislation (including those “offloaded” by employers), and at what potential cost to state governments. The study must be conducted by a neutral third-party research organization agreed to by the states represented in this letter.”
And if Sebelius balks, the governors say they’ll take matters into their own hands.
“We hope the Administration will accommodate our states’ individual circumstances and needs, as we believe the PPACA in its current form threatens to destroy our budgets and perpetuate and magnify the most costly aspects of our health care system. While we hope for your endorsement, if you do not agree, we will move forward with our own efforts regardless and HHS should begin making plans to run exchanges under its own auspices,” they wrote.
Here’s a list of the governors who signed the letter:
- Robert Bentley, Alabama
- Nathan Deal, Georgia
- C.L. “Butch’ Otter, Idaho
- Mitch Daniels, Indiana
- Terry Branstad, Iowa
- Sam Brownback, Kansas
- Bobby Jindal, Louisiana
- Paul LePage, Maine
- Haley Barbour, Mississippi
- David Heineman, Nebraska
- Brian Sandoval, Nevada
- Susana Martinez, New Mexico
- John Kasich, Ohio
- Mary Fallin, Oklahoma
- Tom Corbett, Pennsylvania
- Nikki Haley, South Carolina
- Dennis Daugaard, South Dakota
- Bill Haslam, Tennessee
- Rick Perry, Texas
- Gary Herbert, Utah
- Scott Walker, Wisconsin
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