Pennsylvania’s Businesses, Consumers Deserve More When it Comes to Public Health Insurance Exchanges


There is considerable confusion concerning public health insurance exchanges — and with good reason. Much of the confusion is a direct result of the federal government’s failure to provide adequate guidance on the rules and regulations that will ultimately control the exchanges.

Governor Tom Corbett’s recent decision not to support a state exchange in the Commonwealth was the right decision for Pennsylvania citizens. In a statement, Governor Corbett said, “Health-care reform is too important to be achieved through haphazard planning. Pennsylvania taxpayers and businesses deserve more.”

We couldn’t agree more.

The full impact of the state exchanges on the cost, access, quality, marketplace choice, taxes and regulations on health care has yet to be fully explained.
We are glad that Governor Corbett has joined the 21 other state officials who have declined to set up state exchanges due to the increased costs, higher taxes, and unclear regulations handed down by D.C. lawmakers.

It’s important to note that while there is a great deal of confusion surrounding the state exchanges, the federal government was very clear on at least two very important aspects of the public exchanges: one, that the federal government would maintain ultimate authority and control; and two, that federal financial supports would be temporary, and as such, the cost burden would be transferred to state taxpayers.

Corbett’s decision was the right one, as it would have been fiscally irresponsible to put Pennsylvania’s citizens on the hook for a health-care system with a price tag that has yet to be determined and rules that have yet to be written.

It is also very important to understand that public exchanges are initially designed for the uninsured.

Under the new law, uninsured individuals must purchase health insurance. Those who are currently insured will have access to both public and private exchanges — the latter of which will operate under a different set of rules and regulations that are far more flexible, self-determined and driven by private-market incentives.

If the government plans for states to meet its January 2014 deadline, which most experts agree is unrealistic, it needs to cut through the confusion surrounding the exchanges — and soon.

The Manufacturer & Business Association will continue to monitor this process and keep our members and our community updated as to its progress. A haphazard approach to health-care reform is not acceptable — and our state’s taxpayers and businesses deserve more.