Alabama will not establish Health Insurance Exchange - WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

Alabama will not establish Health Insurance Exchange

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MONTGOMERY, AL (WAFF) -

Governor Robert Bentley announced Alabama will not set up a state insurance exchange under the federal health care law.

Bentley made the announcement Tuesday while speaking to the Birmingham Business Alliance. Friday is the deadline for states to notify President Barack Obama's administration whether they will create a state exchange or let the federal government implement one for them.

Bentley created a commission last year to study creation of an exchange, but he was also one of 21 Republican governors who complained to the Obama administration that states needed more flexibility in deciding which companies participate and what benefits are covered.

"I am not going to set up a state-based exchange that will create a tax burden of up to $50 million on the people of Alabama.  As governor, I cannot support adding such a tax burden onto our citizens," Bentley said.  "The Affordable Care Act is neither affordable nor does it actually improve health care.  Congress and the President have said they want to work together to solve the fiscal crisis facing this country, and I suggest they start with this health care bill."

"I have been speaking individually and in group settings with governors from all over the country, and I feel that a significant number of these governors will take a similar stand," Governor Bentley added.  "That will send a clear signal to all of our elected leaders in Washington that the health care bill should be changed."

"I also will not expand Medicaid under the current structure that exists because we simply cannot afford it," Governor Bentley said.

Since the state is not setting up an exchange, the federal government will do it for Alabama.

Copyright 2012 WAFF. All rights reserved. AP contributed to this report.

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