Deadline Friday for states to make health insurance choice

Iowa Governor Terry Branstad

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(WHO-TV) – Iowa Governor Terry Branstad has until Friday to make a big decision on how Iowa will administer part of the Affordable Care Act.

The healthcare reform law, passed in 2010, requires states to create a health insurance exchange, which is a marketplace of insurance plans that federal officials say would drive down health insurance costs.

Governor Branstad has to decide by Friday which of three options Iowa will choose. Those include: Iowa starting its own exchange, a partnership exchange with the federal government, or having the federal government set up its own exchange here.

State Senator Jack Hatch says the Governor has avoided making a decision until now, but time is running out.

“We’re pretty far behind the schedule, and we need to have this conversation with the Governor and his people, and the stakeholders as soon as possible,” Hatch said.

But the Branstad administration says the reason no decision has been made is because the federal government isn’t giving them answers to their questions.

Branstad’s spokesperson Tim Albrecht said, “Make no mistake, Obamacare is expensive, but we don’t have our questions answered yet by the federal government to know exactly what the price tag will be. Governor Branstad will work with federal officials as well as Senate leadership because the reality is, you can throw any plan out there that you want, but it’s not going to work until we get these questions answered  from the federal government.”

Hatch says the state should opt for a partnership with the federal government for now because that gives Iowa lawmakers more time to create a plan of their own.

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