Gov. Haslam: Tenn. will not run health-care exchange

6:39 PM, Dec 10, 2012   |    comments
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Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam announced Monday the state will not run a state-based health-care exchange under the federal Affordable Care Act.  

All states have until Friday, Dec. 16 to decide whether to create their own health insurance exchanges or use the one the federal government organizes.  

These exchanges would create new online markets where consumers could purchase individual private health-insurance coverage plans.

Haslam said while he thinks Tennessee could operate a cheaper, more efficient and effective state exchange, exactly how these markets would work still remains unclear.  The governor said the Affordable Care Act's timeline to set up exchanges is too short.  In a press release, Haslam said the federal government has not provided enough details on how the process would work, if states would have the flexibility to run exchanges and if it would be beneficial to Tennesseans.  

After the presidential election, Haslam said the federal government sent an over 800 page document state-based exchange guidelines.  The governor said many of those rules limited the state's authority over a its health-care exchange system.

Haslam said his decision not to run a state-based health-care exchange came after months of looking over the options and weighing the consequences for Tennesseans.  

"It is a business decision based on what is best for Tennesseans with the information we have now that we've pressed hard to receive from Washington," said Haslam.  "If this were a political decision, it would've been easy, and I would've made it a long time ago."

According to Haslam, if it's in Tennessee's best interest to operate the exchange in the future, he will consider that option under the right conditions.  

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