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Harwell, McCormick Not Sure State Should Run Insurance Exchange

House Speaker Beth Harwell says she’s “really torn” over whether the state should embrace Obamacare enough to build virtual marketplaces for people and businesses to purchase health care coverage.

A wave of governors from Southern states have indicated they’ll take a pass and let the federal government manage the Obamacare-mandated exchanges themselves, an idea the speaker says is tempting.

“There’s a side of me that would agree, it’s a federal program, by golly, let the feds come down and try to run it,” the Nashville Republican told TNReport last week.

“Then there’s another side to me that says if we can have any control at all, I trust state government to hold costs down a lot more than I trust the federal government to hold any costs down,” she said.

House Majority Leader Gerald McCormick, R-Chattanooga, said he too is hesitant to have the state set up the exchanges for fear that “sooner or later the federal government’s going to change the rules and that’s something that’s happened in the past and we want to avoid that. So that question is up in the air.”

Gov. Bill Haslam has leaned toward Tennessee running its own exchange instead of handing those powers over to the federal government.

Governors from southern states like Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Texas, and other parts of the country, have said they will refuse to implement the federal insurance exchanges, which would require the federal government to operate the marketplaces instead.


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