JUNEAU, Alaska (Nov. 15, 2012) – Alaska Governor Sean Parnell reiterated Thursday that he will not set up a health insurance exchange under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

Parnell indicated he would not move forward with setting up the exchange last summer, saying that the feds should pay to set up a federal program, not the state.

On Thursday, the governor reiterated his position through spokeswoman Sharon Leighow

“The federal law passed more than two years ago and there are still many unknowns regarding the exchanges,” she said in an email to the San Francisco Chronicle. “Bottom line: Governor Parnell is not going to commit the state to a program that is largely undefined at this point.”

The deadline for states to commit to setting up an exchange is Friday.

Parnell joins a growing list of governors who have indicated they don’t plan to move forward with implementing a state-run insurance exchange. Tenth Amendment Center communications director Mike Maharrey said he wasn’t particularly impressed with the Alaska governor’s reasoning, but the decision to refuse to move ahead was a good one in and of itself.

“I would rather see Parnell take a more principled stand – I mean come right out and say, ‘This thing is unconstitutional and a usurpation of state power. We will not comply.’ But his reasons seem much more pragmatic than principled,” he said.  “Still, it’s the right decision, and I count it as a positive. 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. Maybe if enough states refuse to play along, it will create an environment where some of these governors will take the next step and make that principled stand.”

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