Republican Senator Calls For Federal Takeover Of State Health Exchanges By Telling States Not To Set One Up

Following the Supreme Court’s ruling to uphold the Affordable Care Act, Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC) condemned the law as “an unprecedented and enormous tax.” Surprisingly, he also called on states to ignore the ruling and stop implementing the ACA’s exchanges. Interestingly, that would lead to the federal government stepping in:

I urge every governor to stop implementing the health care exchanges that would help implement the harmful effects of this misguided law. Americans have loudly rejected this federal takeover of health care, and governors should join with the people and reject its implementation.”

The Affordable Care Act requires each state to set up a health insurance exchange where consumers can purchase insurance, but if a state does not implement one, then the federal government will operate the state’s exchange program. Officials in several Republican-dominated states put off setting up their exchanges until after the ruling, and governors in three states — Florida, South Carolina, and Wisconsin — say they will not act to implement the law until after the November election if Mitt Romney is elected and tries to repeal the law.

States have until November to turn in their exchange plans to the federal government so that the state programs can be approved by Jan. 1, 2013 — and in place by Jan. 1, 2014. But for states like Georgia, where legislators have done nothing to set up an exchange, and other states that have chosen not to act, it’s unclear if officials can set up an exchange program in time to avoid intervention from the federal government.