LINCOLN, Neb. (Nov. 15) – Nebraska Governor Dave Heineman rejected setting up a health insurance exchange under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, saying it was simply too expensive.
Heineman made the announcement Thursday, one day before the deadline for states to commit to creating an exchange.
“The reality is that the federal health care law is being totally dictated and totally controlled by the federal government,” he said at a news conference. “On the key issues, there is no real operational difference between a federal exchange and a state exchange. A state exchange is nothing more than the state administering the Affordable Care Act with all of the important and critical decisions made by the federal government.”
The governor’s budget office estimated that a state run exchange would cost roughly $646 million between fiscal years 2013 and 2020, according to an Associated Press report. Heineman also said the state-run option was full of mandates, leaving little control to state lawmakers.
Tenth Amendment Center Communications director Mike Maharrey said Heineman’s concern with the lack of state control gets at the root of the problem.
“Nobody with an ounce of sense actually thinks that the same federal government that gave you the $600 toilet seat is going to effectively and efficiently run a health care system for 350 million Americans. But more importantly, it’s illegal for them to try. The Constitution delegates the feds no such power. States should block this thing on that principle alone,” he said. “Unfortunately, a lot of these governors aren’t willing to make that principled stand. But at least they recognize that a federally mandated and controlled system will be a disaster for their states, and they are taking steps to gum up the works.”
Heineman joins a growing list of governors who have indicated they don’t plan to move forward with implementing a state-run insurance exchange.
“The feds depend on state cooperation to make these huge programs work. If a large number of states refuse to set these exchanges up, it puts and increasing burden on the federal bureaucracy, one I’m not convinced they are really prepared to deal with. Hopefully, it will lead to more aggressive action to block implementation down the road,” Maharrey said.
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