A top Republican lawmaker sounded off Monday against a possible state-run insurance exchange under the federal healthcare overhaul. That’s at odds with Governor Bill Haslam, who has hinted he’d prefer the state exchange, but has been slow to commit.
An exchange would be a government-run store to help Tennesseans shopping for health insurance. Several governors have recently said their states won’t open exchanges, instead leaving it to Washington. But Haslam doesn’t love either option, and has put off a decision, hinting a state model could have some upsides.
House Republican Majority Leader Gerald McCormick argues there’s too much fine-print still waiting to be written. McCormick says he’s heard from insurance companies who prefer the state option, and, in so many words: too bad.
“At this point I don’t think there’s a snowball’s chance of that happening. We’re not going to set up a state exchange unless we really have some detailed information on it and it becomes favorable for the state of Tennessee to do so in a way that cannot be reversed. And I just don’t see that happening based on past experience with the federal government.”
A federal deadline for states to spell out their intent is next month. Haslam could keep his options open by steering toward a state exchange for now, and maybe cancelling later. Building one would require approval from lawmakers like McCormick.