How Utah will handle the new healthcare requirements is another upcoming issue that will affect state funds and policy on several levels.
The federal government has promised the States information about how the Affordable Care Act Exchange (Obamacare) will operate and how it will be funded. But we have not been given that information yet. Even without that important decision-making information, States have been given deadlines to make a choice. They can create their own exchanges, where they are allowed to manage a very small portion of the program or they can simply participate in the insurance exchange created by the federal government.
Regardless of which option a state chooses, federal approval must be obtained and by January 2015, each state must bear all operating expenses.
If it were possible, preserving state control and running our own independent insurance program would be a top priority, but that is no longer an option.
It does not seem prudent for Utah to allocate our precious state tax dollars to help create a massive federal program that does not reflect Utah’s health reform initiatives. The funding and resources needed to develop this federal program should not be borne by Utah’s citizens.
I will keep an open mind as we receive more information and the discussion continues, but at this point it seems the most practical and economical solution is to let the federal government be in charge of funding the creation and implementation of their own program.