With extension, Brewer postpones exchange decision

Associated Press Modified: November 15, 2012 at 7:01 pm •  Published: November 15, 2012
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PHOENIX (AP) — Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer is postponing when she'll declare whether Arizona will create a state-run insurance exchange as part of implementing the federal health law that she opposes.

Brewer's office disclosed the postponement on the hot-potato issue late Thursday after the federal Department of Health and Human Services extended until mid-December a deadline for states to make exchange declarations.

The deadline had been Friday, and that's when Brewer had been planning to make her declaration.

"The governor remains committed to doing her due diligence about a decision of this importance, so she is hopeful that the federal government is going to provide the specific guidance and instruction we've been awaiting," Brewer spokesman Matthew Benson said.

The exchange would serve as an online marketplace for consumers to purchase health coverage, which approximately 1.3 million people in Arizona lack.

An alternative to having the state create and run an exchange would be to step aside and allow the federal government to set up one for Arizona. Or she could propose a hybrid partnership between the two levels of government.

Business groups, hospitals and insurance companies have urged Brewer to create a state-run exchange, which would be subject to legislative approval. The Goldwater Institute and other conservatives say the state should not help implement the law.

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