Gov. Bill Haslam announced late last year he was uninterested in Tennessee running a health insurance exchange on its own but put in writing Friday that he will also pass on running the system in tandem with the feds.
The governor said the U.S. Department of Health and Humans Services is still short on details about how managing the insurance exchange would work, he wrote in a letter to Health Secretary Kathleen Sebelius Friday.
“Ultimately, the partnership option does not address the concerns I have about aggressive federal timelines, a lack of true flexibility for states and misguided federal policies,” read the letter.
After months of weighing his options and hearing his Republican colleagues’ call that he keep his distance from programs associated with so-called “Obamacare,” Haslam decided in December the state would not run the health insurance exchange. He said at the time the federal government hasn’t given him enough confidence, information or control necessary to buy into running the program.
While the governor rejected the state running the health insurance exchange by itself, the state had until today to decide whether to enter into a partnership. His letter sent Friday stated he would pass on a partnership running the exchange for the same reason.
The exchanges are meant to be virtual marketplaces like Expedia where people and small businesses can comparison shop for insurance. The exchanges must be set up later this year for use by 2014.
The governor has yet to decide whether he will expand the state’s Medicaid program, TennCare, under the Affordable Care Act. He told reporters last week he plans to make that call by the time lawmakers adjourn this spring.
|Letter to HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius 2-15-2013.pdf||121.29 KB|