Posted by AzBlueMeanie:
Gov. Jan Brewer has to make a decision, due Friday, that will determine whether Arizona creates a state-run, online marketplace for consumers to use when choosing health insurance plans, or lets the federal government create and run a health insurance “exchange” for the state.
The Arizona Capitol Times (subscription required) reports Big decision looms for Arizona governor on exchange:
Brewer is among the Republican governors who opposed the law, but she has yet to indicate what course she’ll take.
“I have not made up my mind at this point in time, but I believe that very soon I will have to determine just exactly what directly we’re going to go. It’s a very expansive piece of legislation that has great, huge impacts on the people of Arizona and on America. So we have to be very cautious and do it carefully. And of course, I believe a lot in states’ rights, and I think that we have to take everything into consideration to make the right decision,” Brewer said on Tuesday.
Down the road, Brewer will face an equally hot-potato decision on whether to expand the state’s Medicaid program — another key aspect of the health care law.
Brewer’s administration has spent millions of dollars of federal grant money on planning and preliminary work for creating a health exchange.
Republican legislators and conservatives such as the Goldwater Institute say the requirement for an exchange is an infringement on the rights of states and individuals.
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Meanwhile, a coalition of business groups wants Brewer to create a state exchange so Arizona has a say in in its design and funding.
“If we retain that control, we’re better able to customize and tweak and make adjustments,” said Pete Wertheim, a vice president of the Arizona Hospital and Healthcare Association.
Brewer already has selected a minimum benefits package for a state-run exchange based on current insurance coverage for state employees. She noted in a Sept. 28 letter to the Obama administration that the package excludes abortion coverage.
Brewer has said her administration has done a lot of planning to be prepared but also indicated she was still studying the issue and hadn’t made a decision.
“I’ve got to decide (whether) it’s the right thing for Arizona,” Brewer said while noting she will need legislative approval.
It’s clear that establishing a state-run exchange would put Brewer at odds with many Republicans in the Legislature, with no assurance that she would win the necessary approval.
Listen up, you "states' rights" Tenthers. You have two choices. Either Arizona sets up a health insurance exchange that it runs and controls. Or the federal government will set up the health insurance exchange and run it for us. There is no third choice, kicking and screaming throwing a temper tantrum, while yelling "No, you can't make me do it! I hate ObamaCare! States' rights! Secession!" You lost. Get over it.
Brewer spokesman Matthew Benson declined to discuss what legislators’ “potential appetite” would be for having a state-run exchange.
On a related health care law issue with similar state-vs.-federal considerations, Brewer decided it was better to have the state run its own program to review health insurance rates than let the federal government handle it. The state has formally approved rules for a rate-review program.
Regarding the exchange, Brewer health policy adviser Don Hughes has said the governor wants to impose as few regulations and requirements on insurers as possible so it doesn’t turn into a duplicative regulator of the industry.
Conservative groups such as the [Koch brothers funded] Goldwater Institute and Americans for Prosperity are calling for Brewer to stiff-arm the federal law’s mandate for an exchange.
You know what, the Koch brothers funded Goldwater Institute and Americans For Prosperity can go fuck themselves. I have had quite enough of these wilfully ignorant, obstructionist tools for the Koch brothers fucking up Arizona for their amusement (excuse my French). Arizona would be a much better place if G.I. and AFP did not exist and the losers who work there would simply go away.
Meanwhile, social-service advocacy groups are weighing in with calls for the state to create an exchange that is friendly to consumers on affordability, convenience and oversight.
“We’re optimistic that consumers will have influence in the design of it,” said Stephen Jennings, an AARP Arizona associate director.
Consumers will have to fight for it. Contact the governor's office and your newly elected state legislators today and tell them what kind of health insurance exchange you want.