WASHINGTON -- Ohio won't go along with a key component of President Barack Obama's health care reform law and plans to let federal authorities run the health insurance exchange, where individuals and small businesses will buy health coverage, Republican Gov. John Kasich's top insurance regulator said Tuesday.
Mary Taylor (R), the lieutenant governor and director of Ohio's Department of Insurance, announced the state's plan at a health insurance industry conference, Columbus Business First reported.
"We still think it's best at this time to let the federal government run the exchange," she told a gathering of the Columbus Association of Health Underwriters, a trade group for agents and brokers.
States have until Friday to tell the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services whether they will set up their own health insurance exchanges, partner with the federal government, or leave the task to U.S. authorities. Based on states' progress before this week, consulting company Avalere Health predicts 20 states will operate exchanges alone, 13 will do jointly with the federal government, and the Department of Health and Human Services will manage the remainder.
Republican governors who opposed the health care reform law have had more than two years to decide whether to go along, but continued to hope that Congress or the Supreme Court would succeed in repealing it. When Obama defeated Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney last Tuesday, the last, best hope of avoiding the law disappeared. Knowing many states hadn't made plans, the Obama administration has given them more time to hammer out the details.
Exchanges are slated to be open across the country next fall to enable people to find health coverage through private plans or Medicaid for 2014. States that don't create exchanges before then may do so in future years under the law.