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States Slow to Meet Looming Health-Care Deadline

The federal government would set up insurance exchanges for states that fail to do so by 2014.
July 7, 2011

WASHINGTON - States are slow to set up insurance exchanges required in the new health-care reform law, The Hill reports. If a state does not have the exchange in place by 2014, the federal government will do so.

Thus far, only 10 states have laws creating the insurance exchange, which is a marketplace for individuals and small companies to purchase insurance. "I think that a year ago, many of us who work with states would have predicted that more states would have passed legislation," said Anne Gauthier, senior program director at the National Academy of State Health Policy. "Although exchanges are about as bipartisan an idea as perhaps exists in the health policy world €¦ politics has played very heavily at the state level."

Setting up an exchange takes a lot of time, of which many states have little. In 2013, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services will check in on the progress of each state and see if the federal government needs to take over.

Some state governments are resisting any implementation of the health-care law. Florida Gov. Rick Scott has blocked state agencies from establishing an exchange or asking for federal grant funds to set up the exchange.

The HHS is expected to release a rule on the exchanges late this week, but that date might be pushed back further. Last week, a federal appeals court upheld the health care individual mandate.