Governor Tom Corbett says Pennsylvania won't set up its own health care exchange under the federal Affordable Care Act.
Corbett announced his decision Wednesday, saying it would be irresponsible to put Pennsylvanians on the hook for an unknown amount of money to operate a system under rules that have not been fully written.
Corbett said his administration has been carefully planning for the Affordable Care Act for two years, but federal authorities haven't adequately responded to questions about cost and other issues.
"Health care reform is too important to be achieved through haphazard planning," Corbett said in a statement. "Pennsylvania taxpayers and businesses deserve more. They deserve informed decision making and a strong plan that responsibly uses taxpayer dollars."
Under President Barack Obama's health care law, every state will have an exchange starting January 1, 2014. The exchanges will provide one-stop health insurance shopping for individual consumers and small businesses.
Low-income people can find out if they will qualify for coverage through Medicaid. Middle-income people can pick a private insurance plan offered through the exchanges, and in most cases, get federal government assistance to pay their premiums.
Virtually every American must have health insurance starting in 2014. At the same time, insurers will be forbidden from turning down people in poor health or charging consumers more because of a pre-existing condition. The law also limits what insurers can charge older customers, who are more prone to health problems.
States have three options as far as exchanges. They can build their own, they can run one in partnership with the federal government, or they can default to Washington and let the feds set up and operate their exchange.
Pennsylvania is one of 28 states that has declared it will allow the federal government to operate its exchange. At least 16 states and Washington, D.C. have said they will set up their own exchanges.
States that want to run their own exchanges have until Friday to submit their plans.
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