Republican governors are delaying efforts to implement the Affordable Care Act in hope that Mitt Romney will win the presidency in November and move to undo the law. Yet a top adviser to the former Massachusetts governor and the man tapped to head a potential Romney transition is still advising states to establish Obamacare’s central component: health care exchanges.
Former Utah governor and Health and Human Services Secretary Mike Leavitt (R) is head of consulting firm Leavitt Partners, which is heavily invested in the law’s state-based exchanges and advises states on how to establish the new insurance marketplaces. “I understand why some of my fellow conservatives oppose the formation of insurance exchanges,” Leavitt maintained to the New York Times, despite the growing concern among Republicans of the rift between Romney’s pledge to repeal the health law and his adviser’s business arraignments. “Continued inaction by states risks an Obama-style federal exchange being foisted upon a state,” Leavitt warned. Under the law, states that fail to implement the exchanges, turn them over to the federal government.
A press release on the Leavitt Partners website advertises the firm’s “policy expertise and information system and process expertise as it relates to all of the detailed components of setting up an exchange.” “We offer clients our knowledge of the requirements of the Affordable Care Act and the technical know-how to create a successful health insurance exchange,” the company says.
Indeed, the Times reports that the firm consults with many outside experts, “several who served in the Obama administration. They include Dr. David Blumenthal, the former coordinator of health information technology for the federal government, and Joel S. Ario, former director of the federal office for insurance exchanges.”
Leavitt has also “chided those who were delaying action in the hope that the health care law would be repealed. It is better, he said, to have an exchange established ‘at the state level, in a way that matches the views, aspirations and needs of a state, than to have it done in Washington.’”