Morning Read: With Deadline Looming, Va. Won’t Set Up Health Care Exchange


Gov. Bob McDonnell said Tuesday that he is still opposed to Virginia setting up its own state-run health exchange, making it all but certain that the Commonwealth won’t set up its own exchange by the Friday deadline.

The governor said Tuesday morning on WNIS radio in Norfolk that, despite calls from lawmakers, he would not be setting up a system for the state, according to the Washington Examiner.

Under President Obama’s new Affordable Health Care Act, states have until Friday to decide whether to set up their own exchange that would allow the uninsured to buy insurance in an open market. If they decide not to set up their own exchange—which nearly two dozen Republican governor’s have opted not to—the federal government will set up one for them.

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“I don't see that there's any certainty that running a state-based exchange makes sense," McDonnell said on the radio show. "I think we're going to get stuck with the price tag for an exchange with very little state control."

McDonnell also said Virginia will opt out of the new health care law’s Medicaid expansion provision, which would enable more low-income and disabled people to be covered. Currently, states and the federal government split the costs of Medicaid 50-50. Under the new law, the federal government said it would initially cover the costs of Medicaid expansion 100 percent, and then 90 percent after that. McDonnell has said that the state could still incur $1 billion to $2 billion in administrative costs over a decade if it expands, according to The Virginian-Pilot.

As chair of the Republican Governor’s Association, McDonnell asked the feds for a deadline extension to set up the exchange from mid-November. The extension was granted.

Maryland, on the other hand, is one of six states that have made progress building their health insurance exchanges and have already received conditional approval to begin enrolling members in October 2013.


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