Health exchanges: What 10 Republican governors have said

Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell gestures during a speech at the Capitol as part of AP Day at the capitol Thursday, Dec. 6, 2012 in Richmond, VA. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)


Health exchanges: What 10 Republican governors have said

Storified by Digital First Media · Wed, Dec 12 2012 14:16:43

A key deadline for the implementation of the 2010 health care overhaul is coming soon. States have until Friday to decide whether to set up their own health-insurance exchanges or else watch the federal government run one for them. 
The exchanges will allow consumers and small businesses to comparison shop for health insurance, similar to how travelers can buy plane tickets on sites such as Travelocity.
So far six states led by Democrats — Colorado, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Maryland, Oregon and Washington — have been given early approval for their own exchanges. 
But many Republican governors, most of whom opposed the 2010 health care law, have said they will not set up their own exchanges. Below, a look at the range of Republican opinions.

Idaho: ‘Play the cards we’ve been dealt’

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Idaho Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter talks with reporters in 2011. (AP Photo/Matt Cilley)
Although he criticized the health care law, Idaho Gov. Butch Otter said he prefers for the state to set up its own exchange. But he left the final decision up to the state legislature.

“There will be a health insurance exchange in Idaho,” Otter said in a statement. “Our options have come down to this: Do nothing and be at the federal government’s mercy in how that exchange is designed and run, or take a seat at the table and play the cards we’ve been dealt. I cannot willingly surrender a role for Idaho.”

Louisiana: ‘Give us the flexibility’

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Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal speaks at a fundraiser in 2012. (AP Photo/Danny Johnston)
Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, considered to be a potential 2016 Republican presidential candidate, said he would not create a state-run exchange, but he hoped to work with the Obama administration to change the law.

“We are certainly going to go to the president and give him a chance to actually be bipartisan and give him a chance to give us the flexibility to bring more market-based competition and ideas into health care programs, and I hope he’ll work with us to do that,” he said.

Maine: ‘Not lifting a finger’

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Maine Gov. Paul LePage smiles during a ceremony in Maine in 2012. (AP Photo/Pat Wellenbach)
Maine Gov. Paul LePage said he had no plans to set up an exchange and will simply let the federal government take care of it, arguing it was not a state concern.
“I’m not lifting a finger,” he said. “We’re not going to get involved. We’re going to let Mr. Obama do a federal exchange. It’s his bill.”

Michigan: ‘Must be realistic’

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Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder speaks at a news conference on Dec. 11. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)
Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder hoped to create a state-run exchange but he was stymied by Republicans in the state House of Representatives, who refused to approve the bill. He’s said he still hopes for a state plan later but may have to move ahead with a federal-run exchange because of the deadline. 
“Ensuring that Michigan residents have the best available quality health care and customer service has been a priority from Day One,” he said in a statement. “I have felt strongly that a Michigan-run MI Health Marketplace could further accomplish this goal. That said, we must be realistic about how feasible implementing this could be under the current federal time frames.”

New Jersey: ‘Await federal guidance’

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New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie speaks a news conference on Dec. 7. (AP Photo/Mel Evans)
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie vetoed legislation that would have set up a health insurance exchange, arguing the federal government had not answered key questions.
New Jersey and all other states still await substantial federal guidance on the functioning of all three types of exchanges,” he said. “To be sure, the decision of whether to move forward with a state-based exchange can only be fully understood when competitively compared to the overall value of the other options.”

Pennsylvania: ‘Haphazard planning’

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Gov. Tom Corbett speaks before the Pennsylvania legislature in 2011. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)
Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett said he would not set up a system, arguing the Obama administration had not adequately answered questions about cost and other issues.
“Health care reform is too important to be achieved through haphazard planning. Pennsylvania taxpayers and businesses deserve more. They deserve informed decision making and a strong plan that responsibly uses taxpayer dollars.”

Tennessee: ‘A business decision’

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Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam speaks at a Farm Bureau meeting on Dec. 3. (AP Photo/Erik Schelzig)
Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam said in a speech Monday that the state will not create a health insurance exchange, arguing he did not have enough information from the federal government on what was required. 
“To me, this is a business decision,” he said. “If you take the politics out of the decision, what you’re left with is this: As the CEO of the state of Tennessee I’m being asked to make a significant business decision based on information that’s only now dribbling out of Washington and that we appear to have little influence over.”

Texas: ‘Merely an illusion’

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Texas Gov. Rick Perry reacts to questions from reporters in 2010.  (AP Photo/The Dallas Morning News, Ben Torres)
Texas Gov. Rick Perry, who opposed the 2010 health care law during his unsuccessful run for the Republican presidential nomination this year, said the state will not set up its own exchange.
“As long as the federal government has the ability to force unknown mandates and costs upon our citizens, while retaining the sole power in approving what an exchange looks like, the notion of a state exchange is merely an illusion,” he wrote in a letter. “It would not be fiscally responsible to put hard-working Texans on the financial hook for an unknown amount of money to operate a system under rules that have not even been written.”

Utah: ‘A Utah solution’

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Utah Gov. Gary R. Herbert speaks after his inauguration in 2011. (AP Photo/Scott Sommerdorf, Pool)
Utah Gov. Gary Herbert has asked the Obama administration for wiggle room to use an existing insurance exchange that does not meet the exact requirements.

“I am confident that if you make this change, several other states will join Utah and request certification for state-based exchanges based on our model,” he wrote in a letter. “I am committed to our model, and I will continue to pursue a Utah solution to Utah challenges.”

Virginia: ‘Stuck with the price tag’

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Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell gives a speech on Dec. 6.  (AP Photo/Steve Helber)
Although some state lawmakers had called for Virginia to set up an exchange, Gov. Bob McDonnell said in a radio interview that he would not do so. 
“I don’t see that there’s any certainty that running a state-based exchange makes sense,” he said. “I think we’re going to get stuck with the price tag for an exchange with very little state control.”

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