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A closer look at the healthcare exchange
States have until December 14th to make a decision on health exchanges. Even though the deadline is extended, Governor Heineman, announced Nebraska's decision Thursday.
The health exchange is an online marketplace for health care plans.
States have to make a decision whether they'll create the exchange themselves, make a state and federal partnership, or let the federal government take control.
According to the Affordable Healthcare Act, most Americans are required to have health insurance by 2014. It's widely unpopular with Republicans across the U.S.
Here in Nebraska, that's no different.
"As you know, the majority of Nebraskans are opposed to the new federal healthcare law," said Governor Heineman.
The healthcare exchange decision was originally due Friday. Governor Heineman announced Thursday that Nebraskans will participate in the federal health insurance exchange.
"This has been a highly politicized issue, however the elections are over. It's now time to focus on the policy," Heineman said.
Politicized sums it up. The Republican Governor's Association demanded an extension. And they got one.
States have until December 14th. There are still thirteen undecided states.
Nebraska is one of the 15 to default to the federal exchange. But, why federal? Doesn't that leave us with less flexibility?
"At the end of the day, whether you're in the federal exchange or we had a state exchange, the federal government still calls all the shots," said Lieutenant Governor Rick Sheehy.
State officials are citing costs and a lack of regulations. The state exchange would cost Nebraska tax payers about $646 million from 2013 to 2020. That is compared to only $176 million with the federal exchange.
"When you look at the dollars and cents, I mean clearly for the hardworking tax payers of Nebraska, for us to go into the federal exchange seemed to make the most sense," Sheehy said.
Some state officials had said a decision wouldn't be made until after the presidential election hoping he wouldn't have to make one at all.
The current cost estimates are based on what the state knows right now. They say they're still waiting for the Department of Health and Human Services to put together concrete rules and regulations.
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