By law, he is required to implement Democratic President Barack Obama’s healthcare overhaul. But as a Republican from deeply conservative Mississippi — one of 26 states that sued Washington over Obama’s Affordable Care Act — Chaney is a target of critics who say he is betraying his party.
Chaney and health officials in as many as 24 Republican-controlled states are working behind the scenes to set up insurance exchanges that provide a market for individuals and small businesses to shop for affordable health coverage. The states face a November 16 deadline to show they can do it, or the federal government steps in and takes on the job itself.
But these officials face significant political opposition from their Republican governors and legislators who want the states to do nothing until the national election on November 6, hoping the party wins enough votes to repeal the law.