Haslam blames feds for delay in health care choice

Associated Press Modified: November 19, 2012 at 5:46 pm •  Published: November 19, 2012
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Haslam's complaints echo those by other Republican governors including Bobby Jindal of Louisiana and Bob McDonnell of Virginia, who have argued that the Obama administration should release major regulations bottled up for months before they have to make up their minds about a state-run exchange. Some of their main concerns include whether there would be hidden costs of operating the exchanges and the sheer bureaucratic complexity of the new system.

"The White House has basically ignored that and said no, whether it be a personal request through the secretary of (health), a letter to the president, any number of ways we've said, 'We have some questions, we have some things that need to be answered,'" Haslam said. "And they haven't answered that."

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said in last week's letter extending the deadline for the state exchange decision that a letter of intent to create state exchange would help her agency assist with finalizing those plans. She said "additional guidance" would be released soon.

"Our team will do everything possible to answer questions and provide technical assistance to state leaders," she wrote.

Haslam spokesman David Smith said Haslam was invited Monday afternoon to participate in a conference call with Sebelius on Tuesday.

The Obama administration has maintained it will not postpone the Jan. 1, 2014, launch date for the law's coverage expansion, and it will go ahead in all 50 states. Open enrollment will begin even sooner, Oct. 1, 2013.

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