No Obamacare Exchange in Ohio, Pending Supreme Court Decision
Lieutenant Governor and Director of the Ohio Department of Insurance Mary Taylor provided the following statement to Media Trackers Ohio regarding implementation of a health insurance exchange compliant with Obamacare, which is officially known as the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA):
The Governor and I support repealing Obamacare in order to give states the flexibility they need to pursue state-based solutions that are best suited for their unique needs. Our analysis shows that Obamacare will be very disruptive to Ohios market forcing premiums to rise while also placing more financial burden on taxpayers. Ohio has not yet decided on a course of action for exchanges because of tremendous uncertainty coming from the federal government as well as the pending Supreme Court decision expected early this summer. In the mean time, we will continue to focus on state reforms that improve access to affordable, high-quality care.
As Media Trackers Ohio has reported, Taylor is openly critical of the health insurance law passed by Congress and signed by President Obama in March of 2010. The Ohio Department of Insurance (ODI) has not applied for an “exchange establishment” grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) although a 2011 KPMG analysis recommended ODI apply for the grant immediately, estimating that technical implementation could take 50 months.
If Ohio has not implemented an ACA-compliant health insurance exchange by January 2014, HHS will intervene. Multiple conservative policy analysts have asserted that key portions of ACA would be inoperable in states with federally-managed exchanges, regardless of the outcome of the pending U.S. Supreme Court case against ACA.
In a March 2012 paper, 1851 Center for Constitutional Law director Maurice Thompson argued that ODI would “serve Ohioans’ lives up to the impositions of Obamacare on a silver platter” by creating a state ACA exchange. The Ohio Liberty Coalition shared several of Thompson’s points in a story that also directed Ohioans to a petition opposing creation of an ACA exchange.
In testimony delivered to the Missouri Senate on September 15, 2011, Michael F. Cannon of the free-market Cato Institute argued against creation of an ACA-compliant exchange in Missouri. One reason cited by Cannon:
[...] Due to a recently discovered glitch in the statute, the new health care law only authorizes premium assistance in state-run Exchanges not federal Exchanges. States thus have the collective power to deny the Obama administration the legal authority to dispense more than a half-trillion dollars in new entitlement spending, to expose the full cost of the law’s mandates and government price controls, as well as to enforce the law’s employer mandate simply by not creating Exchanges. If Missouri joins other states in refusing to create an Exchange, it can essentially force Congress to reconsider the law. If Missouri instead creates an Exchange, it will increase the federal deficit and debt, hide the full cost of the health care law, expose Missouri employers to penalties and reduce the likelihood of repeal.
Cannon reiterated this and other arguments against creating state exchanges in a National Review Online piece in April of 2012.
Analyzing HHS regulations created last summer, Edmund Haislmaier of the conservative Heritage Foundation concluded that, “a state would now have no more real control over an exchange it set up than over one HHS established.” Like Cato, Heritage has advised states to reject ACA grants for both exchange establishment and premium review.
ODI took a $4 million ACA premium review grant from HHS in September 2011. Media Trackers Ohio will monitor developments pending the outcome of the Supreme Court case.