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Republican Governors ask for changes to health insurance exchange plan Posted: February 9th, 2011

By Maryalene LaPonsie

In a letter to Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) Kathleen Sebelius, 21 members of the Republican Governors Association asked the HHS to pursue changes to planned health insurance exchanges before they begin functioning in 2014.

A key part of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) health-care reform package, the health insurance exchanges are intended to give income-eligible individuals and families the opportunity to receive government subsidies that offset premium costs in the purchase of health insurance. In its letter to Sebelius, the GOP governors warned that many states may opt out of operating health insurance exchanges unless adjustments are made, leaving those duties to the federal government.

Posted on the Republican Governors Association website, the letter expresses concern that states were not properly consulted before health reform was passed and suggests four key changes to health insurance exchanges:

  1. Greater flexibility for states to determine which insurers may offer health plans through the exchanges
  2. Federal funding to verify the eligibility of those purchasing through the exchanges
  3. Elimination of federal benefit mandates and restrictions on consumer-driven health plans, including health savings accounts
  4. Permission for states to independently move medical coverage of non-disabled Medicaid beneficiaries to the exchanges

"We wish states had been given more opportunity to provide input when the [Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act] was being drafted," the Republican Governors Association wrote.