Official tells Congress too many questions doomed Arizona-run health program

 

By Connor Radnovich | Cronkite News

WASHINGTON – Arizona gave up on running its own health-insurance exchange and turned the job over to the federal government instead because of uncertainty over how a state program would work, an Arizona official testified Thursday.

“While Gov. (Jan) Brewer is a strong advocate of local control, there were too many unknowns about how a state-based exchange would operate for Arizona to proceed,” Don Hughes told the Senate Finance Committee.

Don Hughes, a health-care adviser to Gov. Jan Brewer, said Arizona decided to pass on the opportunity to run its own health-insurance exchange and leave the job to the federal government because there were just too many unanswered questions about how it would be regulated.
Don Hughes, a health-care adviser to Gov. Jan Brewer, said Arizona decided to pass on the opportunity to run its own health-insurance exchange and leave the job to the federal government because there were just too many unanswered questions about how it would be regulated.

Hughes, the executive director of Arizona’s health insurance exchange and a health adviser to Brewer, testified that when the state made its decision last fall, many of the federal rules that will guide the program were still in draft form.

“You can’t make decisions based upon draft rules,” said Hughes, noting that many of those rules are still drafts three months later.

That lack of progress was the focus of senators on the committee, who grilled the federal bureaucrat in charge of the health insurance exchange program.

The exchanges, which are part of the federal health-care reform act often called “Obamacare,” are supposed to be online marketplaces where consumers can apply for health insurance. They need to be operating by Oct. 1 when open enrollment is scheduled to begin.

Continued: 

If you’d like to discuss employment or health care law, contact David Weissman, director of the Rose Law Group Employment Law and Managed Health Care Law Practice, dweissman@roselawgroup.com

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