Gov. Haslam says 'No' to state-run health insurance exchange

Governor Haslam (File photo)
Governor Haslam (File photo)

(WMC-TV) - Gov. Bill Haslam said he will not create a state-run health insurance exchange under the federal Affordable Healthcare Act.

Haslam announced his decision during a speech Monday.

"I'm not a fan of the law. The more I know, the more harmful I think it will be for small businesses and costly for state governments and the federal government," said Haslam. "It does nothing to address the cost of health care in our country. It only expands a broken system. That's why I've opposed it from the beginning and had hoped we would be successful in court and at the ballot box this year."

Gov. Haslam had until Friday to make the decision. He said the lack of information from the federal government was "scary".

"In weighing all of the information we currently have, I informed the federal government today that Tennessee will not run a state-based exchange," Haslam continued. "If conditions warrant in the future and it makes sense at a later date for Tennessee to run the exchange, we would consider that as an option at the appropriate time."

The exchanges would create new online markets where consumers will be able to buy individual private health insurance coverage.

Haslam previously said the state likely could run an exchange more efficiently but acknowledged getting legislative approval would be difficult.

Many Republican lawmakers ran for office on a platform of opposing President Barack Obama's health care plan. Tea party supporters protested the idea of a state-run exchange outside the Capitol last week, deriding it as "Haslamcare."

"I believe my job is to get to the right answer. That's what Tennesseans expect of me and elected me to do."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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