Obama Admin Extends State Insurance Exchange Deadline

The reelection of President Barack Obama means the health care reform law will be implemented. Although the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that states would have the option to expand Medicaid, the administration likely expects most states to comply. Texas is one of several states whose governors say they will not expand Medicaid or set up a state insurance exchange. Perhaps this is part of the reason the administration has twice extended the deadline for states to set up insurance exchanges. An excerpt from the New York Times:

In a letter to the Republican governors on Thursday night, Kathleen Sebelius, the secretary of health and human services, said they would have until Dec. 14 to decide whether they wanted to establish their own health insurance exchanges. The federal government will create an exchange in any state that is unable or unwilling to do so.

The White House had originally said that states must submit applications to the federal government by Friday if they wanted to run their own exchanges. On Nov. 9, the administration extended the deadline for applications to Dec. 14, but said governors still had to submit “letters of intent” by Friday.

Now the administration says that even the letter of intent can be submitted as late as Dec. 14…Ms. Sebelius will then have two weeks — until Jan. 1 — to decide which states are capable of running their own exchanges. Starting in October, people can enroll in health plans, for coverage starting Jan. 1, 2014, when most Americans will be required to have health insurance.

Meanwhile, Governor Rick Perry has reiterated that Texas will not expand Medicaid or set up an insurance exchange. The AP reports that he sent a letter to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services officially notifying the administration of his intent.