State Governors Call for Federal Help in Setting Up Benefit Exchanges
Some of the federal health reform law regulations for health insurance exchanges could usurp states' autonomy, according to a National Governors Association letter sent Wednesday to HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, Reuters reports.
The letter urged HHS to provide more support in establishing exchanges.
The letter -- signed by Govs. Terry Branstad (R-Iowa) and Pat Quinn (D-Ill.) on behalf of NGA's health committee -- noted that implementing the exchanges "requires a number of complex policy decisions amid aggressive timelines."
Commenting on HHS' proposed rule for federal-state partnerships, the governors wrote that "[s]tates would be required to cede many operations that have been traditionally handled at the state level, such as Medicaid eligibility." They added, "States have invested taxpayer resources in state-based eligibility systems since the Medicaid program began and want to avoid duplication of effort."
The governors also said that the current plan to not provide states with funding for the exchanges until after 2012 could lock them "into an all-or-nothing approach," which could hinder development of exchanges because "many states are undecided on implementation strategies because of various uncertainties, including the lack of final rules and regulations."
They added that timely information must be provided "regarding the structure of state-federal partnership, essential health benefits and the design of a federal exchange."
The governors asked HHS for assistance in areas where they do not have current operations, including facilitating advance payment of premium tax credits to insurers and certifying technology and software (Lambert, Reuters, 11/3).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.