Gov: Ohio won't set up state health care exchange

Ohio won't set up its own health insurance exchange but is instead opting for a partnership with the federal government to run the new online market under President Barack Obama's health care law.
Associated Press
Nov 18, 2012

Republican Gov. John Kasich wrote in a letter Friday to the Obama administration that setting up a state-based exchange is too costly and states have little control over how to operate exchanges.

"Regardless of who runs an exchange, the end product is the same," he said.

Kasich's administration has indicated for months that Ohio was leaning toward a federally facilitated exchange. State officials have noted their continued misgivings about the health care law, including what they say has been a lack of information from the federal government.

Ohio had been among the 26 states that had challenged the law, which the U.S. Supreme Court upheld this summer. And the state's voters overwhelming snubbed the overhaul's mandated coverage in a largely symbolic referendum last year.

Kasich was adamant in his letter that Ohio would continue to regulate its health insurance market, oversee health plans and make decisions around Medicaid eligibility. He said the Ohio Department of Insurance would retain its oversight over the insurance industry, "as it has done very effectively for more than 60 years."

The administration said it would submit additional details on its plan to federal officials by mid-February.

Exchanges are online markets in which individual consumers and small businesses will shop for health insurance among competing private plans. They'll be open for business on Jan. 1, 2014, but open enrollment for exchange plans will begin even sooner, on Oct. 1, 2013.

The exchanges are supposed to demystify the process of buying health insurance, allowing consumers to make apples-to-apples comparisons. Consumers will also be able to find out whether they're eligible for new federal subsidies to help pay premiums or whether they qualify for expanded Medicaid.

A group of consumer advocates said it supported Kasich's move to ensure that the state continues to regulate the insurance market and make Medicaid determinations. But Cathy Levine, who co-chairs Ohio Consumers for Health Coverage, said the coalition was disappointed Kasich didn't take advantage of certain aspects of the law, such as the federal grant money available to help consumers navigate the new market.

The state asserts that it already has a consumer services division in its insurance department to answer questions and address Ohioans' problems.

Levine said she also agreed with Kasich that many Ohioans wouldn't see a substantial difference between a state-run or federally run exchange.

"I think consumers are probably better off at this point if the feds run the exchange," Levine said. "We don't know how Ohio would operate the state exchange."

Democratic state lawmakers unsuccessfully pushed bills in the GOP-controlled Ohio Legislature to try to set up a state-run exchange.

"It just seems to make sense that one would want something that's more localized and more tailored for the people of the state," State Rep. Nickie Antonio, D-Lakewood, one of the bill's sponsors.

Ohio has yet to decide on another key part of the law: whether to broaden its Medicaid coverage. About 2.2 million Ohioans are enrolled in the nearly $19 billion program, which serves the poor and disabled

People earning up to 138 percent of the federal poverty level qualify for Medicaid under the health care law, except in states that reject the expansion.

Kasich has indicated he's open to trying to compromise with federal officials on possibly lowering that threshold.

More than 1.5 million Ohio residents are uninsured, or about 14 percent.

The federal law is expected to provide coverage to more than 30 million people nationwide through the exchanges and expanded Medicaid programs.

 

Comments

deertracker

Newsflash to ALL Cons: The election is over. The people have chosen their next leader. The ACA is the law of the land. Move on!

Contango

In the first presidential debate, Mr. Obama said that he liked the name "Obamacare." Typical egotist.

ACA may be the "law of the land" punkin', but it is a legislative mess, expensive and unworkable.

It will do nothin' to stop runaway health care costs. Keep thinkin' that Mr. Obama has magical answers.

See: Misters Simpson & Bowles take -

http://www.cnbc.com/id/49845816/...

The spending on the health and welfare benefits of the 78 million baby boomers 'alone' would bankrupt this country!

wetsu

That's why all those principled, honorable public servants in D.C. should have acted years ago when they knew full well where we were headed. Instead, they suckled at the teat of the boomers until recently. Now that their cash cows have all but retired watch them go for the pensions.

The Big Dog's back

So you right wingers (fascists) used the term Obamacare in a derogatory fashion and it was OK. Now that the President has embraced it, now it's not OK?

OMG.LOL.WT_

Alan Kooi Simpson's term ended in 97. About the time of Dick "duty to die"Lamm.
We are supposed to have a representative form of government. NOT by Simpson and Norquist.

Contango

@ OMG.LOL.WT_:

Pres. Obama requested the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform co-chaired by Simpson and Bowles and has since ignored it's recommendations.

We're likely to see: Tax increases and no spending cuts.

The Fiscal Cliff has 'already' arrived; trust that you have your financial parachute packed well or the landing could be rough.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nat...

Don S

As people call it, Obamacare is here to stay, it's the law, now. The Republicans lost,BIG, so the majority of people agree with Obama. The Republicans are still being bad loosers, for their Party, not for the countries good. Obama has said that Obamacare is not perfect and will need tweeked to make it better. These arguements were made against Social Secutity and medicare when the pundits tried their best to defeat these programs. For decades people wanted this type of medical care system. Now we have it, but big money, corporations,and money taking politicians are against it. They are afraid that they will loose money. Too bad !!!!!

4shizzle

It's all about getting more money and not brotherhood.

http://youtu.be/ghcWKxuWFIU

kURTje

The GOP is out of touch.

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