April 18, 2014

Governor’s spokesman says unanswered questions make healthcare action tough

A Democrat Senator from Des Moines is pushing for the governor’s office to move ahead to create what’s called a “healthcare exchange” to meet the deadline set under the federal healthcare law. The exchanges are supposed to be new marketplaces where individuals and small businesses can shop around for health insurance.

Governor Terry Branstad’s spokesman, Tim Albrecht, says there are still many unanswered questions about the Affordable Healthcare Act and that makes it hard to make any decisions. Last week the Obama administration said it would move the deadline for the state plans from the end of this week until mid-December.

“The November 16th deadline isn’t even in the law, it’s an arbitrary date that Secretary Sibelius and her crew pulled out of the sky and I imagine the December 15th deadline is the same way,” Albrecht says. Democratic Senator Jack Hatch says since the governor won’t say what he’ll do on Friday, they’ll propose their own legislation to create a state-based exchange by 2015.

Albrecht says the governor is not going to rush forward to meet an arbitrary date. “Governor Branstad is not going to put the Iowa taxpayer on the hook for the expensive implementation of Obamacare and then have to redo it or do it all over again based on any new information that we might receive,” Albrecht says.

Governor Branstad, a Republican, had held off on committing Iowa to a healthcare exchange, until after the election, betting on a Romney administration to repeal the Affordable Care Act. Senator Hatch says at a minimum, Branstad should consider partnering with the feds to create an exchange.