Gov. Bill Haslam aims frustrations at Obama administration

Gov. Bill Haslam aims frustrations at Obama administration (Image 1)

Republican Governor Bill Haslam aimed more frustration Monday at the Obama Administration for about not getting questions answered about health insurance exchanges called for by the new federal health care law.

“Governors representing 60% of the country, including some Democrats, have major questions we went to sit down and discuss, and we have been told, 'No that's not right,'” said a clearly exasperated governor when reporters brought up the question. “The fact that you have at least 30 Republican governors plus a lot of Democrat governors saying we have major questions, we want to come down and talk and the White House has basically ignored that.”

The governor went on to say he has sent a letter to President Obama and a personal request to the Secretary of Health and Human Services, but to no avail.

“If as the governor, I ignored the elected representatives of 60% of the country and just said we have this major new program but we don't want you to come down so we can answer your questions from 60% of the state you all would be climbing all over me,” the governor said shaking his head.

Haslam said the Obama Administration was on “radio silence” before the election, and “ignored repeated requests” since then to get the questions answered about the exchanges which are designed to be a clearinghouse where insurance companies compete for customers set to begin in 2014.

One by one, the governor ticked off questions he has:

  • If we run a state based exchange will we have the opportunity to implement some wellness based incentives?
  • Will there be the ability for a family that has different members on different programs to all be covered by the same providers?
  • Will there be a way for seniors moving on to Medicare, how will that exchange work so that somebody is not double covered?
  • Will there be ways to put integrity control processes into a state based exchange? (to eliminate fraud)
  • How are we going to interact with federal data hub?

On Thursday, the Obama Administration extended the deadline for states to make a decision about running the exchanges to December 14.

Asked if that's not long enough, the governor said “there is a lot of passion around this issue, there is also a decent amount of misunderstanding about how the exchanges will work, whether we even have to have them or not.”

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