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The waiting game is over: States must act on Obamacare

“The law is the law, whether you like it or not. It doesn’t matter if you like it. It’s the damn law.” 

Many governors and insurance department heads awoke this morning with Mississippi Insurance Commissioner Mike Chaney’s words ringing true after last night’s reelection of President Obama. States holding out for a change in federal leadership on health reform now have fast decisions to make. The numbers are staggering for Mississippi: one in five people lack health insurance; it leads the “States of Misery” in health, poverty, and crime statistics; and has the highest level of obesity in the country at 34.9 percent. Despite Governor Phil Bryant calling for a stall on Obamacare, Chaney is creating a health insurance exchange (HIX) under his own authority, and with an Obama victory, plans to file a blueprint on November 16, unless he receives a court order from “some idiot out there trying to stop me.” Though his words could be considered somewhat crude, the logic behind them is solid: State’s ignoring the law does not mean the law disappears, and these words come from someone against Obamacare.

 

Exit polls from last night showed that roughly a third of voters listed health care as an important factor in their vote. Despite Obama being reelected, several states had voter efforts approved to limit Obamacare, including Missouri, Alabama, Wyoming, Florida, and Montana. Although some states were opposed to health care reform from the beginning, those that started the exchange planning process are finding that they have run out of time, and will likely adopt the federal exchange until a state-based exchange can be built.

 

With a scramble to hit the 2014 deadline, procurement strategies may be expedited, like Connecticut’s sole-source award to Deloitte for both its HIX and its integrated eligibility system. Expect to see even the early innovators relying heavily on federal hub resources for the first enrollment period. As Chaney pointed out, there is no more waiting; the Affordable Care Act is the law. Deltek will be watching as blueprints are submitted to the Center for Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight by November 16, 2012, and how federal-state relationships play out as the nation addresses health care reform.

 

As always, be sure to follow Deltek’s Health Care and Social Services Team on Twitter @GovWin_HHS, or connect with us through LinkedIN. Stay tuned for more information around a new Health Insurance Exchange Vertical Profile addition in the near future!

 

 

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