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N.C.-U.S. exchange allows insurance flexibility
State has option to go with feds or status quo
 
Published Tuesday, November 20, 2012 2:22 pm
by Herbert L. White

North Carolina Gov. Bev Perdue opted for a state-federal health insurance exchange in order to apply for federal grants.

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Gov. Bev Perdue’s decision to enroll North Carolina in a state-federal health insurance exchange gives the state flexibility to determine whether to go with a federal model or stay in a joint arrangement.


Perdue’s decision was required by the federal Affordable Care Act passed by Congress and signed by President Barack Obama in 2010. Nov. 15 was the deadline for application for grants related to implementing federal or joint exchanges.


The state missed a previous deadline for a state-controlled exchange when the N.C. Senate failed to pass a plan approved by the House. Perdue insists the joint program gives North Carolina more flexibility and control over the decision-making process when Governor-elect Pat McCrory takes office in January.


“North Carolina is moving forward with implementing a process that provides much needed health insurance for every citizen,” she said. “It is critical for our state to participate in decisions that affect our state’s citizens. We will not cede total control to the federal government. It remains my goal to pursue a state-based plan.”


Perdue notified Insurance Commissioner Wayne Goodwin, lawmakers and McCrory about her decision.


N.C. Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger criticized Perdue’s decision as inappropriate given her lame-duck status.


“Let’s set the record straight – it is not necessary or appropriate for Gov. Perdue to prematurely declare her intent to establish a state-federal partnership exchange,” said Berger, a Rockingham Republican. “The initial deadline for the state to make this declaration is February 15, 2013… the voters elected a new legislature and governor (on Nov. 6) and policy decisions of this magnitude should be left to them.”


With President Barack Obama’s re-election, the ACA will likely stand intact, but several states – mostly controlled by Republicans – have indicated they’ll defer to the federal exchange model.


Under N.C. law, the state Departments of Insurance and Health and Human Services are responsible for planning and implementing ACA, with Insurance establishing the health insurance exchange.
 

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