Governor Matt Mead sent a third letter to Kathleen Sebelius, Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) today. The letter indicating his frustration with the lack of cooperation and information needed for Wyoming to make critical decisions, such as whether to establish a state-run health insurance exchange. Wyoming will not meet the original November 16, 2012 deadline to let HHS know whether or not we will establish a state-run health insurance exchange because the federal agency has not provided necessary information.
In his letter, Governor Mead noted that HHS has not completed the formal rulemaking process related to exchanges, nor have they answered substantive questions needed to make a reasoned decision. Some of the unanswered questions include: how much a federally-run exchange will cost the citizens of Wyoming, how a federally run exchange will affect the insurance market outside the exchange, how much a state-run exchange will have to pay for interfaces with federal data systems, and how user fees will be allocated between state and federal governments in a partnership exchange.
"The decisions required by states are not ones we asked for, but instead were placed upon us. It would seem that if this is a high priority for our federal government they would do all they can to get us information," Governor Mead said.
Mead also noted, "The U.S. Supreme Court has made a decision and the Legislature and my office need to move forward. In order to do so, we need HHS to engage with us to provide answers to questions that affect patients, providers, hospitals and taxpayers."
Yesterday, HHS announced that the November 16 deadline had been extended and that states now have until December 14, 2012 to submit a "blueprint" for a state-run exchange.
At least 25 states will not meet the original November 16 deadline to submit a declaration letter and blueprint for a state run exchange.