Alaska Governor says no to federal funds for insurance exchanges, calls reform “unlawful”

Alaska Governor Sean Parnell has announced that the state will not apply for federal grants to implement health insurance exchanges in the wake of a judge’s ruling that the health care reform act is unconstitutional. With this move, Parnell joins a growing number of Governor’s who are turning down federal grants for a variety of initiatives.

In a statement the Governor said, “the Florida court’s declaratory judgment that the federal health care law is unconstitutional is the ‘law of the land’ as it applies to Alaska, and we will not proceed down an unlawful course to implement it.” Instead, the Governor plans to move forward with his own plans for health care in the state – plans which he says fit the “unique needs,” of Alaska residents.

Under the Governor’s plan, the State Division of Insurance is reviewing the potential for developing a health insurance exchange without federal dollars. To do this the division is comparing software and data applications which could be used to create an internet portal with information about insurance options and health care.

The Governor has also directed the Department of Health and Social Services to work with providers on chronic care management and primary care access for state residents. The department will also be working on initiatives to streamline enrollment for existing public assistance programs, as well as utilizing telemedicine and electronic health records.

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