Ramsey: Put Off Deciding on Insurance Exchange

The speaker of the state senate wants to put off a key decision about a requirement of the federal healthcare overhaul. Lieutenant Governor Ron Ramsey said in a speech today the state shouldn’t act on a health exchange until after next year’s election.

The federal overhaul calls for exchanges that would be a one-stop shop for people buying health insurance. States can either set up their own or take part in a federal exchange.

Ramsey told TNReport.com (raw video here) he doesn’t like either option, and he says the state should put off choosing next year until the healthcare law passes a crucial legal challenge.

“I’m just saying that this could be a possible solution, that all of us are trying to figure out how to solve, is see what the Supreme Court does, see what happens in the November election, and then before January act on something. That’s just Ron Ramsey’s thinking-outside-the-box idea.”

Ramsey stressed he hasn’t discussed the idea of a special session with the governor or state house speaker.

While Ramsey argues the state doesn’t have to decide until the end of next year, others have said if Tennessee wants federal money to pay for a state exchange, the deadline is summer.

In a draft report this fall a state planning group said stakeholders all preferred creating a state-run exchange over the federal alternative.

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