RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — Officials in states with Republican governors who have stood firm against the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) exchange program — or have decided to participate — are waiting to see what happens tomorrow.
In Nevada, Republican Gov. Brian Sandoval is overseeing the creation of the Silver State Health Insurance Exchange, which is set to offer a total of four carriers.
Republican officials in Utah will be letting the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) run the state’s individual exchange program.
Governors in many other Republican-led states have reacted to the exchange program with strategies ranging from all-out opposition to cold charity.
Republicans in the U.S. House and Democrats in the Senate are in a government shutdown budget battle that could have effects on the start of the exchange program that are hard to predict.
In Utah, federal officials have already poured about 2 million in grants into navigator training and public awareness programs.
In Nevada, exchange officials have postponed until November an aggressive television ad campaign urging people to sign up. Instead, they’re hoping for a “soft” launch of the exchange so they have time to identify and fix any lingering problems before the sign-up deadline nears and more web traffic is expected.
Meanwhile, Republican officials in some other states are doing what they can to stop the start of the exchanges, or to close the exchanges if they do start up.
Missouri bars state employees from helping implement an insurance exchange, leaving it entirely to federal direction. Last week, Missouri Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder this week urged Missouri residents to resist the federal law by refusing to sign up for health insurance. They could be forced to pay a fine of $95 or more if they don’t.
“I don’t see any reason to enable the implementation of this law,” Kinder said. “I think the whole thing is in the process of collapsing.”
The Florida Department of Health recently ordered county health departments across the state to ban navigators from conducting outreach on their property. Florida has one of the highest uninsured rates in the country with an estimated 3.5 million lacking insurance.
“When it came to Obamacare, we didn’t just say ‘no,’ we said ‘never,’” South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley said last month alongside U.S. Sen. Tim Scott, whom she appointed last December when Jim DeMint resigned. “And we’re going to keep on fighting until we get people like Sen. Scott and everybody else in Congress to defund Obamacare.”
But, even in the Carolinas, some officials have grudgingly made moves to try to lessen PPACA-related disruptions.