22 November 2012Law & regulation

Obamacare exchanges given another month

The US Department of Health and Human Services has allowed states in the US one more month to decide how, and whether to, implement the health exchange portion of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA).

The delay was announced on the eve of the original cut-off date, when it became clear that states were struggling with specifics of the law, including basic information such as how the exchanges will be regulated.

State governors, most prominently Republican governor, Bob McDonnell of Virginia, report receiving little guidance, while supporters of PPACA insist that they envision the exchanges working as an integral part of the revamped US healthcare system only as a last resort.

Despite the additional time to establish exchanges, several Republican governors have made it clear that they will not implement state-run exchange systems under any circumstances, leaving the job to the federal government. According to USA Today the differences between a state-run exchange and its federal counterpart will be minimal. The exchanges, which will allow Americans to shop for health insurance online, are expected to help approximately 25 million Americans find coverage according to the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office.