Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer will not be implementing a state-run health insurance exchange This is a key peice to President Barack Obama’s federal health care law (Obamacare). Brewer made her decision on Wednesday. Instead of an exchange, the federal government will set up an online marketplace for the state that will offer subsidized private health coverage to the middle class.
Her decision, according to her letter informing DC of her decision, was based on the costs and suspicions associated with a state-run exchange. Other concerns raised were the inability to customize unique policies for Arizona citizens and whether or not it was constitutional.
Brewer joins approximately 20 governors nationwide who have also denied creating state-run exchanges. Hospitals, insurance companies and business groups wanted Governor Brewer to implement a state-run exchange, claiming that it would give the state flexibility in designing a program to its liking. Groups such as the Goldwater Institute and the Arizona Tenth Amendment Center, stood in opposition.
The Arizona Tenth Amendment Center cited the passing of proposition 106 which was passed in 2010, amending the Arizona constitution with article 27, section 2. The Health Care Freedom Act, which passed with 55.3% YES to 44.7% NO, restricted any rules or regulations that would force state residents to participate in a health-care system. The amendment would also ensure that individuals would have the right to pay for private health insurance. This caused many Arizona residents to call, e-mail and write the Governor’s office in opposition to the health exchange.
Democrat Leah Landrum Taylor disagreed with Gov. Brewer’s decision, stating it was a ”missed opportunity to establish health care solutions that are tailor-made for the unique needs of the state.” House Minority Leader Chad Campbell, who is also a Democrat, stated the Governor’s decision was grandstanding and that it reflected “an extremist agenda.”
Brewer accepted federal grants to help “work” with the federal government, covering the costs of implementing “Obamacare.” Totaling $31 million, most of the money remains unspent. This decision for Arizona citizens to have a free-market choice on health care versus a federal law, which according to the Arizona constitution, was the only legal decision.