Perry to HHS: Texas won't do insurance exchanges

By Marilyn Tennissen | Nov 19, 2012

Texas Gov. Rick Perry recently sent a letter to federal officials reconfirming that the state would not implement parts of Obamacare.

He first notified U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius in July that Texas would not take part in a state insurance exchange, part of President Barack Obama’s Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. On Nov. 15 he sent Sebelius another letter reiterating his position.

“In its current form under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and through the yet undisclosed rules set forth by CMS, the exchange presents an unknown cost to Texas taxpayers,” Perry wrote. “It would not be fiscally responsible to put hard-working Texans on the financial hook for an unknown amount of money to operate a system under rules that have not even been written.”

Perry says there is “no such thing” as a state exchange, and calls the provision a federally mandated exchange “with rules dictated by Washington.”

“As long as the federal government has the ability to force unknown mandates and costs upon our citizens, while retaining the sole power in approving what an exchange looks like, the notion of a state exchange is merely an illusion,” he wrote.

He says HHS has broad rule-making authority and can make the “ultimate decision” on what is an essential health benefit, which plans can operate in an exchange and can establish price controls and cost sharing limits.

“Our state will not be a party to helping facilitate the taxation of millions of Texans, at an unknown cost, to implement bad public policy,” Perry wrote.

Nov. 16 was the deadline for a state to inform the federal government of their intention regarding a state exchange.

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