From Kaiser Health News:
S.C.’s top health official, Anthony Keck, and Gov. Nikki Haley, not fans of the 2010 health law, are likely to decide to let the federal government run the state’s exchange. (Haley photo by MaryAustinPhoto via Flickr)
Nov 15, 2011
South Carolina’s top health official will recommend this week that the state decline creating its own health insurance exchange, one of the central tenets of President Barack Obama’s health care law.
Instead, the state should let the federal government build the insurance marketplace in the state for now, Anthony Keck, the director of the state’s Department of Health and Human Services, said in an interview. That recommendation is expected to go to a committee appointed by the governor to study the issue on Friday.
South Carolina, a state dominated by health-law-averse Republicans who got a Tea Party boost in last year’s election, has been heading down this road for months. But the recommendation is the latest step in formalizing objections to the exchange — and it frames the move as pragmatism, even as the state hands over power to the federal government.
The No. 1 reason for the wait-and-see approach? The stakes are so low. If a state does nothing, Washington is required to step in and build an exchange by 2014. That thinking — as well as a list of technical and logistical problems — is swaying decision-makers in other states too, industry analysts say.
State officials say the 2014 deadline is too tight given that rules for the exchanges are not complete, which is one incentive to defer to Washington. Plus, if South Carolina officials don’t like the federally run exchange, they can always circle back and start their own later under rules issued by the federal health department in July.
“What is the first mover advantage for states to rush ahead and implement this, given all the uncertainty?” Keck asked. “States have the safety valve of being able to take it over when they want to.”
“Sometimes, the smartest thing when you’re doing something new like this is to wait,” he said. (more…)
Filed under: Affordable Care Act, Medicaid | Tagged: 2014, Bennett Blodgett, exchange, Gilda Cobb-Hunter, health care, Health Care Reform, health insurance, Health Planning Committee, Leavitt Partners, Nikki Haley, Republicans, South Carolina, Tea Party, Tony Keck | Leave a Comment »