Haslam delays decision on running health insurance exchange

Friday, November 16, 2012 at 2:14pm

Gov. Bill Haslam said he wants to take advantage of the federal government’s extended deadline to decide whether Tennessee should set up it’s own health insurance exchange.

Haslam said he wants the extra time to await answers from President Barack Obama’s administration about details of the exchanges before making a decision that will likely be challenged by members of the General Assembly.

“I understand there is a lot of passion and uncertainty about the health care law, and I share that frustration,” Haslam said in an emailed statement today while attending the Republican Governors Association meeting in Las Vegas.

“As governor, I believe it is my job to put emotions aside and to make the tough decisions on the serious issues that impact Tennesseans. That is what I'm working hard to do,” he said.

Federal officials yesterday gave governors an extra month to decide whether to build their own exchanges, which operate like online marketplaces for people and businesses to shop for health insurance. States that opt out will give ownership of the exchanges to the federal government to build and operate.

While the exchange is required under Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, governors across the country were supposed to decide by today whether their state would set up and run the exchange itself or if it would leave that responsibility to the federal government. A handful of governors have already refused to set up the exchange.

Haslam has hinted he would prefer the state run the exchange itself, although the decision would require approval by the Republican-led legislature, which appears split on the issue.

Democrats are urging the governor to “rip the Band-Aid off” and make a decision now, saying Haslam should opt for the state to run the exchange itself.

“Now is not the time for more delays, now is the time to create an open process that brings all interested parties to the table,” said Rep. Craig Fitzhugh, minority leader in the state House of Representatives.

The deadline extension came at the request of the Republican Governors Association this week.

16 Comments on this post:

By: pswindle on 11/16/12 at 5:19

Of course, you want the exchange. This would help every Tennessean in keeping down health expense. Is the GOP trying to pull a fast one like they tried to do with voter supression.You will end up hurting the people of this great state. President Obama won both the election and Supreme Court battle, now get on board. Don't make TN the state that does not give affortable healthcare to its people.

By: govskeptic on 11/19/12 at 6:13

pswindle:

The new Tenn Democratic Party Leadership needs you as their spokesman
on many of these important issues that are arising. Especially on the Voter
Suppression which is so rampant in areas like Green Hills and Belle Meade.

By: jonw on 11/19/12 at 9:48

- - - - So Rep. Craig Fitzhugh, minority leader in the state House of Representatives, & pswindle want to "pass it now so we can see what is in it".

By: Badbob on 11/20/12 at 7:15

jonw, just because the GOP has great appeal to people who can't read doesn't mean the state has to hire such ignorant people. I believe we have people in state government who can read and understand the written word without having Rush Limbaugh or Sarah Palin interpreting for them.

We know what this is all about. And it's not about what is best for Tennesseans.

By: Blanketnazi2 on 11/20/12 at 7:36

If states opt out, we will get the much better single payor!

By: Blanketnazi2 on 11/20/12 at 7:38

And this article doesn't mention that Haslam wanted to set up some other "Medicare controls" for fraud. That is already being handled under the new healthcare laws. Why create more expense for the state? It's just one more stalling measure and a way to get support from the uninformed.

By: Moonglow1 on 11/20/12 at 8:49

Moonglow1: Haslam can't make a decision because he will be skewered by the tea nuts that control TN politics. In a state that thrives on the health care industry you would think Haslam would demonstrate leadership and get behind a state run exchange if nothing else to showcase Nashville as a model for healthcare while obtaining federal dollars to get it off the ground. But no, instead these tea nuts like DeJarlais are devoting their time to abortions, affairs, having sex with patients and championing guns in parking lots. Ah yes, this is The Great Red State of TN.

By: Blanketnazi2 on 11/20/12 at 9:05

Even Bill Frist supports Obamacare!

By: pswindle on 11/20/12 at 9:24

This just shows how incompetent Gov. Haslam is.

By: royt5 on 11/20/12 at 9:27

The first clue that Haslim should not set up the state exchange is when the Democrats want it so bad. I just hope that the Governor doesn't have Bill Frist in his ear to much. No to the state exchanges, just as most every other Republican governor has said.

By: Moonglow1 on 11/20/12 at 9:39

Moonglow1: royt5-you might be shocked to know that the Affordable Health Care Act was originally borne out of a Republican think tank (it may have been the Cato or Heritage Foundation). We progressives want to nationalize healthcare-a Medicare program for all Americans. Contrary to Republican talking points, Medicare is administratively well run. The actually spend 95 percent of every dollar on care in contrast to an HMO which spends about 30 percent of every dollar on advertising not to mention CEO compensation.

Frist knows his family business will thrive under the ACA because hospital care for the previously uninsured will now be paid for under the ACA.

I wonder what happened with Bill Frist. I heard his wife split.

By: Blanketnazi2 on 11/20/12 at 11:16

Exactly, Moonglow. People need to be more informed about the AHA - the info is on the internet.....

By: Ask01 on 11/23/12 at 7:05

Governance by inaction seems to be a trend for Tennessee governors.

Party affiliation does not seem to be a deciding factor in this disturbing concept.

I can't cite every instance, my memory not being what it once was, and certain not every occurence has made the news.

One instance which comes readily to mind was Phil Bredesen declining to sign or veto a piece of legislation, the "Support Life" specialty license plate, I believe it was, allowing the bill to go into effect without his taking a public stand, therefore allowing him plausible deniability.

All politicians use this bit of trickery, hoping, I suppose events will keep them from making possibly unpopular decisions.

By: Badbob on 11/25/12 at 7:21

So much for giving states flexibility. Republicans complain about too much control and complain about not enough control. Give them an ice cream cone and they'll cry about the flavor.

By: courier37027 on 11/25/12 at 5:55

To columnist Andrea Zelinsky, in first paragraph your use of it's should be its.

By: 9445 on 11/29/12 at 11:52

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