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La. tells HHS it won't run insurance exchange

Associated Press Modified: November 14, 2012 at 9:16 pm •  Published: November 14, 2012

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Gov. Bobby Jindal's administration sent formal notification Wednesday to federal officials that Louisiana won't create its own health insurance market as provided by the national health care overhaul.

Health and Hospitals Secretary Bruce Greenstein mailed a seven-page letter telling the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services that Louisiana will leave it to the federal government to run the state's health insurance exchange.

The letter also outlined the Jindal administration's continuing opposition to the entire law, which was upheld by the Supreme Court earlier this year.

"The State of Louisiana has repeatedly stated that the law has severe legal problems, is bad policy and is unworkable. Those beliefs remain unchanged," Greenstein wrote to HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius.

The exchanges, scheduled to launch in January 2014, will allow people and small businesses to shop for private coverage from a range of competing insurers. They are supposed to be ready to begin enrolling people in October 2013.

Jindal, a Republican who is considered a possible White House contender, has sought repeal of President Barack Obama's signature health care law, calling it an inappropriate expansion of the federal government and a burdensome expense for the state and businesses.

In his letter, Greenstein revisited those complaints, laying out pages of point-by-point criticism. He called the health care law unjust taxation, said it will undermine the private health care marketplace and claimed it will weaken job creation at private businesses.

"The full extent of damage the (health care law) causes to small businesses, the nation's economy and the American health care system will only be revealed with time," Greenstein wrote. "The State of Louisiana has no interest in being a party to this failure by implementing a state based exchange."

He said the health insurance exchanges have unrealistic deadlines and unclear regulations.

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