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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

The exchanges are supposed to be set up with federal money and then sustained through taxes and fees on the insurance products.

State Sen. Karen Carter Peterson, the head of the Louisiana Democratic Party, tried unsuccessfully to get the state to run its own exchange. She said it doesn't make sense for the state to opt out of creating its own system that fits its local markets, instead of using a one-size-fits-all model.

Insurance Commissioner Jim Donelon, a Republican who supports the concept of an exchange though not the Obama health law, echoed similar concerns Wednesday about using an exchange model not created specifically with Louisiana in mind.

"When the feds build the exchange, they will build it according to their political agenda and that gives me concern as a person who would not have voted for what I consider to be a program headed in the direction of national health care," Donelon said.

But he noted the decision of whether Louisiana would run its own health insurance exchange was not his, but Jindal's choice.

Louisiana, which was one of 26 states that unsuccessfully sued to throw out the health revamp, earlier had decided to let federal officials run the high-risk pools for people who have pre-existing medical conditions and can't afford the costs of private insurance plans.

Before the presidential election, Jindal also said he won't let Louisiana participate in another part of the Obama health care law, refusing to expand the state's Medicaid coverage to give more people health insurance.

Since Obama's re-election victory, the governor hasn't responded to questions about whether he'll change his stance now that efforts to repeal the national health care overhaul are expected to go nowhere.