On Thursday, U.S. officials permitted four Republican governed states, Idaho, Nevada, New Mexico and Utah to join another 17 states and the District of Columbia in their bids to set up their own health insurance exchanges under the new healthcare reform law.
Mississippi has applied for the same permissions, but its request is yet to be approved. The other states and the District of Columbia have won conditional approval for establishing their own health insurance exchanges effective from Jan 1. 2014.
A plan of an insurance exchange made by Arkansas, which plans to run it in partnership with the federal government was also allowed. Delaware had already received approval of a partnership led insurance exchange last year.
Under the new healthcare law which proposes to extend health coverage to an estimated 16 million uninsured people by allowing them to purchase federally subsidized insurance, health insurance exchanges are meant to play a pivotal role.
The U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary, Kathleen Sebelius told the media in a conference call that the establishment of insurance exchanges was “a brand new day” that would “drive down costs” for consumers through competition.
However, continued opposition from Republicans on various issues related with the law might see the federal government ending up in running insurance exchanges in at least 32 states on its own.
Currently, Oklahoma has also gone to court rejecting the healthcare reforms and has asked a federal court to block the administration from using tax credits to subsidize insurance sold in any federal exchange operating within the state.
The deadline for states to declare their intentions to run federal partnership insurance exchanges is February 15.
Mississippi is apparently stuck up over some issues that concerned authorities are trying to solve. Gary Cohen, the U.S. official in charge of the exchange implementation effort told the media, “We will continue to work with state officials as they determine how best to resolve these issues.”