Pennsylvania will not set up its own health care exchange under the federal Affordable Care Act — at least not for now, Gov. Tom Corbett said Wednesday.
Setting up a state-based exchange would be irresponsible, Corbett said as he faulted federal authorities for what he said were inadequate answers to his questions about cost and other issues.
"Health care reform is too important to be achieved through haphazard planning," said the Republican governor. "Pennsylvania taxpayers and businesses deserve more. They deserve informed decision making and a strong plan that responsibly uses taxpayer dollars."
Many Democratic lawmakers, insurers and hospitals wanted Corbett to set up a state-run system.
The new insurance exchanges will allow households and small businesses to buy a private health plan, and many will get help from the government to pay their premiums. Under the law, states that can't or won't set up exchanges will have theirs run by the federal government.
A third choice for states is a partnership approach with the federal government, and states have until mid-February to make a decision. The partnership option allows states to handle consumer relations and oversight of health plans, while the federal government does the bulk of the work, including handling enrollment and figuring out how much taxpayer-funded help consumers may be entitled to.
Corbett said it "would be irresponsible to put Pennsylvanians on the hook for an unknown amount of money to operate a system under rules that have not been fully written."