States Waiting to Build Exchanges

April 4, 2011

State-run exchanges are central to the reforms promised by PPACA. Lately, a number of Republican governors have indicated they may not move forward with an exchange in their state. They don’t like the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) on principle and they’ve taken Florida judge Roger Vinson’s recent ruling that the bill is unconstitutional as justification for a wait-and-see policy. This stance is understandable, but it’s short-sighted and could lead to bigger problems down the road.

From my experience at Extend Health, a well-run exchange is one of the most powerful tools for top-down control of health care costs, as well as for empowering and educating people to be smart consumers of health insurance. More practically, any delay in implementing an exchange will only increase the cost of standing up an exchange later. Building an exchange is not trivial, and while the bill provides guidelines and some requirements, many key decisions are left up to states.

If the Supreme Court doesn’t affirm Judge Vinson’s ruling that the mandate and the rest of the legislation are “inextricably bound” and throw out the entire bill, states will have to make a mad dash to build their exchanges or allow the Federal government to build one for them.

If you’re following developments in this area, you’ll know that legislatures in every state are debating this issue, making critical decisions that could have a serious negative impact on your ability to find and purchase health insurance at an affordable cost. They need to hear from their citizens that exchanges are a good idea.

Visit Extend Health — the nation’s largest private Medicare exchange.

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