The Straits Times
Published on Nov 17, 2012

Five US Republican governors reject state-run health markets


WASHINGTON (REUTERS) - Five Republican state governors have rejected a major provision of United States President Barack Obama's healthcare reform law that calls on US states to set up online health insurance markets where consumers can purchase private coverage at federally subsidised rates.

That makes it likely that the US federal government will establish its own markets, known as healthcare exchanges, in those states and potentially supplant state control of private individual insurance markets.

But in what could be a sign of thawing relations between administration officials and some state Republican leaders, three of the five governors - representing Ohio, Michigan and Florida - expressed a willingness to work with Washington as reforms inch toward a Jan. 1, 2014, deadline for full operation.

The announcements came a day after the US. Department of Health and Human Services extended its deadline for states to say whether they would operate their own exchanges. The positions reveal an emerging split between Republican governors who had appeared to form a united front against healthcare reform before Mr Obama's Nov. 6 reelection ensured the law's implementation.