Under the federal health care law, states face a Nov. 16 deadline to submit blueprints to the federal government if they want to run their own health insurance exchanges when the online shopping sites are due to open in 2014. If states don’t set up their own sites, the federal government will run one for them.
Nixon said he would prefer Missouri run its own insurance exchange. But that’s not possible, at least not at this point. Voters on Tuesday passed a ballot measure barring the governor from taking steps to establish a state-run insurance exchange without legislative approval. The Legislature has not granted its approval. And it’s not scheduled to be in session until January, meaning lawmakers could not meet the Nov. 16 deadline even if they wanted to do so.
“The only option for Missouri at this time is to indicate that we will be unable to proceed with a state-based exchange absent a change in circumstances,” Nixon said at his first news conference since winning re-election Tuesday. But he added: “Let me be clear that a federally facilitated exchange is not the ideal approach. Regulating the insurance market is a power best left in the hands of the states.”