Arizona Governor Jan Brewer is asking the federal government for money to build her state’s health insurance exchange while simultaneously challenging the law. Arizona was one of the first states to get involved with the challenge to federal health care reform legislation, a fight which continues, the state is also seeking an exemption from health care reform under the new waiver program. But, in an interesting twist the state has decided to go forward with creating a health insurance exchange and is asking the federal government for help.
The move to ask for federal funds is being opposed by members of the Governor’s own party within the legislature and may face several hurdles for approval. The application submitted by the governor requests $29.8 million to construct the exchange.
The administration said of the application that the state will continue to challenge the overall law, but on the chance that it sticks they want to be in compliance with regulations. Federal health care reform requires that all states create online marketplaces for consumers to compare insurance policies. Governor Brewer is trying to put her own spin on the exchange by focusing on what she calls “free market,” features. The Governor feels that this compromise will overcome opposition to a one-size-fits-all federally administered exchange.
Local lawmakers opposed to the application say that the Governor shouldn’t be contributing to the deficit by asking for funds for a law that may not be upheld and further that working against the legislature on this issue will only invite discord. The funding approval required in the statehouse isn’t likely to come up before 2013 but lawmakers which oppose the initiative plan to hold extensive hearings on the issue in the meantime.