HHS Extends ObamaCare Health Insurance Exchange Deadline For States


Facing pressure from Republican governors, the Obama administration has officially pushed back the deadline for state governments to declare whether or not they're setting up ObamaCare's health insurance exchanges, reports CBS News. States were supposed to tell the Department of Health and Human Services whether they would create the exchanges by today, but now they have until December 14 to declare their intentions. They can also wait until February to decide whether they want to set up an exchange in partnership with the federal government.

The Obama administration clearly wants as many states as possible to agree to bear the burden of setting up the exchanges. The federal government will build and operate exchanges in states that decide not to create exchanges on their own, or at least it will try, provided it can get the funding and overcome various legal challenges.

HHS is characterizing this move as an accomodation, telling CBS that the extended deadline is part of an "effort to be as flexible as possible."

If states actually want to preserve their flexibility, they should avoid building the exchanges at all. State-created exchanges would be subject to federal approval and oversight, giving the states few options for control, and leaving many crucial decisions up to HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius.

As The Washington Examiner's Philip Klein recently pointed out, the text of the health law specifies that "the [HHS] Secretary shall, by regulation, establish criteria for the certification of health plans as qualified health plans," and also says that "an Exchange may not make available any health plan that is not a qualified health plan."

"In other words," writes Klein, "Sebelius will get to decide what type of health care plans can be offered on these state exchanges." Sebelius will also get to make determinations about how health plans offered in the exchanges are rated, about language used to describe plan features, and about overall presentation of plan options. And federal rules will override conflicting state policies. ObamaCare states that "an Exchange may not establish rules that conflict with or prevent the application of regulations promulgated by the Secretary under this subtitle." State control? Federal control? Either way, it's Washington's way. 

States, meanwhile, would bear substantial costs if they chose to set up their own exchanges. Running an exchange could cost a state anywhere from $10 million to $100 million a year, according to the Cato Institute's Michael Cannon, and ObamaCare's legislative language indicates that businesses in states that opt out won't be subject to the law's employer health insurance mandate, a $2,000 annual per employee tax on many employers who don't provide qualifying insurance. 

HHS wants to give states every opportunity to incur these costs themselves rather than leave the federal government to fund and manage those exchanges. So sure, it's attempting to create additional flexibility for implementing ObamaCare. But mostly for itself. 

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  1. In other government overreach news, lazy DEA fucks want Fedex and UPS to do their job for them. Fedex, at least, has the correct answer.


    1. Guess I'll be putting in a little extra effort this Christmas to make sure FedEx handles my shipments when possible.

    2. But...but...Obama! Better on Drugs! Pwoggie fwiends told me so!

  2. I don't often say women have punchable faces, but damn that woman would look better with two black eyes and a broken nose.

    1. I've always wanted to punch Diana Moon Glampers in the face.

    2. lol, wow...just...wow. Wow.

  3. And is Libertarian 1% hero Gary Johnson, you know a former fucking governor, is he doing something to help states beat back Obamacare? Such as helping Rick Perry and other anti-Obamacare folks in the fight against the feds?

    Nah, fuck that. Forward...to high-priced speaking engagements.

    I mean, seriously, liberty and freedom are only worth it if they're 99 44/100% pure.

    1. What would you have him do, exactly? Go around the country and tell everyone Obamacare is a horrible idea?


    2. Mary, will you be shitting up the weekend threads this week? Just want to know if it will be worth checking in.

      1. Did we ever get to the bottom of whether or not this is the Mary who comments here?

        1. I think the Mary who shits on the threads from time to time is from Ft. Worth. Kudos on finding Dunphy a new powerlifting partner/ future wife though.

          1. Apparently Morgan Fairchild has let her self go to the point of embarrassment, causing her to change her name to Mary Stack.

  4. now [the States] have until December 14 to declare their intentions.

    You mean, like, their intentions to secede?

  5. This is to give the Administration more time to arm-twist governors into compliance, not out of some kind of deference to the governors.

  6. Again, pieces like these give me hope. This behemoth is such a disastrous mess with so many fail points, I struggle to imagine it ever getting up and running.

    1. This. If you've never looked at the actual legislation, I assure you it is worth it. You will be astonished.

      1. I looked at parts of it not long after it was first proposed when it was "only" a little more than 1000 pages long and what I did read was pretty aweful. I would read the whole thing but I'll be too busy this weekend doing fun stuff like having my fingernails torn out, or driving spikes through my nutsack to do something as painful as read the PPACA.

        1. don't do it. i get paid to read the bill and the related regs.

          1. I'm surprised you haven't taken a hammer to your own head just to make it stop.

          2. I was trying to sort out the relatively straightforward question of when an employer will have to pay the penalty. Holy fuck, what a mess.

            Among other things, one of the absolutely critical terms (Health Insurance Exchange) is never actually, you know, defined. Its just kind of thrown out there. The law reads like it was written by starving monkeys on a meth/ritalin bender, being paid one (1) banana for every keystroke.

            1. A) feature, not bug, and B) that is simply a reflection of how the brains of those who write these things actually work. The trick is that both of these are true, simultaneously. And so we observe the natural product of the bureaucratic organism.

    2. Instead of going for outright repeal House should start attaching riders that delay implementation until the US Debt is paid off.

  7. This is like that old saw about getting more of what you reward. By doing this it will simply let the states know that they can procrastinate over their decision. After all, why rush to decide when the deadline is simply pushed back when it isn't met?

    1. Old saw? My dear chap, that is one of the Iron Laws!

      1. Psh! If it's not on Wikipedia, it doesn't count. Duh!

  8. I am so glad Obama was re elected! I will actually get health insurance next year with NO pre existing cluase! Yay!


  9. Why on earth is setting up an exchange that costly? There were no details in the other nationalreview article.

    The Supreme court decision says that the individual mandate is constitutional per the taxing power. It also says states cannot lose the existing matching medicaid funds if they choose to not implement exchanges. However, if the federal government sets up an exchange, will it be violating states rights. The court did not rule on whether the feds can overrule the states existing laws regarding insurance companies. Maybe this would be allowed through the commerce clause, but the top court needs to affirm this.

    Also, the language of the laws says that the penalty applies to a plan established under a state exchange. If the plan is established under a federal exchange, then textually speaking, the penalty should not apply.

  10. Wait a minute, businesses in states that don't set up exchanges are free from the mandate? I've never heard that before. Why isn't Fox shouting about this. That's going to be a HUGE advantage for the opt out states to attract business. My question is, does the same apply to the individual mandate?

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