Citing “multiple unanswered questions and great uncertainty,” Gov. Bob McDonnell told state legislators today that his administration won’t rush to implement two key provisions of the federal health care reform law, which was upheld last month by the U.S. Supreme Court.
In letter to members of the General Assembly, McDonnell reiterated that he will not call the General Assembly into a special session to implement a state-run health insurance exchange. And he said his administration will take its time evaluating whether or not to expand eligibility for Medicaid program that serves the poor.
McDonnell told lawmakers that “I am committed to doing what is best for Virginians, and to comply with the law in the least intrusive and bureaucratic way.”
But the Republican governor also made it clear that he hopes Congress will repeal the health care law after the upcoming election and that “states will be given the freedom they need to implement healthcare solutions that work best for their citizens.”
Without naming Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, McDonnell wrote in his letter: “One presidential candidate has said he will repeal PPACA and grant waivers to the states if he wins the November election.”
McDonnell condemned last month’s Supreme Court decision upholding the federal health care law and said Virginia would not rush to implement key provisions that are left to the states. Among other things, Virginia must decide whether to set up an exchange where uninsured individuals and small businesses could shop for insurance coverage, or let the federal government operate one instead.
States face a Nov. 16 deadline to apply for certification of exchanges that would begin to operate in 2014. But the Department of Health and Human Services has said that states will have additional opportunities to apply. The agency also has added multiple deadlines for states to apply for federal grants to establish state-based exchanges.
McDonnell attached a list of 30 questions his administration has sent to the Obama administration seeking more information about the rules and regulations governing insurance exchanges and Medicaid expansion. Until the state has more information, McDonnell said, ” it is not prudent to spend a great deal of time and tax payer money on building a system that we may never need to implement or that may be materially different once the rules are finally established.”
You can read McDonnell’s full letter here.
– Michael Sluss