Republican governors Rick Scott of Florida and Bobby Jindal of Louisiana have already declared that they have no interest in setting up the state-based health insurance exchanges required by last year’s health care overhaul. If the law stands, the federal government is supposed to eventually step in to create exchanges without state resources. But for now, both governors have made it clear that their states won’t be working toward implementation. Jindal will return a $1 million federal grant the state received to pay for planning the exchange.
That’s probably for the best. Starting work on the exchanges commits the state to the law to some extent; the more implementation that occurs, the more administrative capacity that’s built, the harder the whole thing becomes to undo. If state governors are looking to resist the law, refusing to implement the exchanges is—at least for the time being—a good place to start.
Meanwhile, a new report finds flaws with the one state that already has a heavily regulated, ObamaCare-style exchange, Massachusetts. From Stateline’s Healthbeat:
The Commonwealth Connector, Massachusetts’ version of a health insurance exchange, has failed to attract many small business purchasers and individuals who are not eligible for subsidies. That's the assessment of a new report from a nonpartisan, privately funded research group in the state, the Pioneer Institute. Small businesses and individuals who do not qualify for subsidies make up only 1.5 percent of the Connector’s membership. And less than 1 percent of small group insurance purchases in the state are made through the exchange, the report found. Although Massachusetts’ groundbreaking health care overhaul became the model for the federal health law, the report’s author said the Connector needs repairs before it can comply.
In other words, the state-run exchange has managed to attract people who qualify for generous insurance subsidies—and almost no one else. You have to wonder: If these sorts of government-run insurance marketplaces are so great, how come the only group of people in the Bay State who seem to be taking advantage of it are those who’re getting taxpayer-funded subsidies to do so?