“Make no mistake,” Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant declared last week upon hearing that the feds would reject his state’s plan to create its own clearinghouse for health insurance. “The federal government will control all exchanges established under the Affordable Care Act.”
Never mind that the feds have now cleared 17 states to run their own exchanges under Obamacare, and that Mississippi is the first state to get a rejection. The deeper irony is that Bryant actively undercut his own state’s bid for autonomy.
Under the Affordable Care Act, every state has until the end of this year to set up an insurance exchange where legal residents can shop for health coverage. The goal is to help consumers shop for value while forcing insurers to compete in an open marketplace. To make coverage more affordable, the act requires everyone to join the risk pool?and it subsidizes coverage for those who can’t pay full fare. To give states the greatest possible flexibility, the law offers gives them three ways to develop their exchanges. A state can (1) set up an independent exchange that meets national standards, (2) develop an exchange in partnership with the federal government, or (3) stand aside and let the feds handle the job.