DesJarlais to Haslam: Don’t Create TN Health Care Exchange

U.S. Rep. Scott DesJarlais says that implementation of the 2010 federal health care reform still can be blocked and has urged Gov. Bill Haslam to not create a state health insurance market, according to The Tennessean.
Originally, Haslam faced a deadline today to notify the federal Department of Health and Human Services about whether Tennessee will create its own health insurance exchange or let the federal government create one for the state. But HHS announced Thursday evening that the deadline had been extended to Dec. 14.
Under Democratic President Barack Obama’s federal health care law, the exchanges are intended to be a kind of clearinghouse through which insurance companies will compete for customers beginning in 2014.
Most observers interpret the law as allowing the federal government to create exchanges in states that decide not to create their own.
But DesJarlais, in an argument first raised earlier this year, contends there can be no health care exchanges, and thus no final implementation of the controversial health care law, if states refuse to create their own.
In a letter to Haslam dated Thursday, DesJarlais said his position has been bolstered by a recent Congressional Research Service report.
IRS officials, however, contend the clear intent of the law is to allow federally created exchanges in states where governors don’t act. Many Southern governors have opposed setting up exchanges.
“In short, states that refuse to create and implement their own state health-insurance exchanges could potentially have the ability to block the law altogether,” DesJarlais wrote.
Because of President Barack Obama’s re-election and a changed makeup of Congress, he added, this may be one of the last options for stopping the law, at least until it can get further judicial review.

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