The federal government has pushed back the deadline for states to decide whether they will set up a health insurance exchange, which is good because Governor Mead says Wyoming's not ready to make a decision.
The health exchanges are scheduled to open in 2014 and are a key provision of President Obama's Affordable Care Act.
The Governor says the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has not provided him with enough information. Because of it, he's sent a third letter to Kathleen Sebelius, the secretary of that department, saying they still need to answer several questions. Some of the unanswered questions are:
Governor Mead says he's frustrated with the lack of cooperation and information for Wyoming to make this critical decision.
"The decisions required by states are not ones we asked for, but instead were placed upon us," said Governor Mead. "It would seem that if this is a high priority for our federal government they would do all they can to get us information. The U.S. Supreme Court has made a decision and the Legislature and my office need to move forward. In order to do so, we need HHS to engage with us to provide answers to questions that affect patients, providers, hospitals and taxpayers."
HHS has extended the deadline until December 14th. That's when states will need to submit a "blueprint" for a state-run exchange.
Wyoming's in good company. At least 25 states will not meet the original November 16th deadline.
The hope is that health exchanges will create online marketplaces where people and small businesses can find more affordable insurance plans. Many states were waiting to see who won the presidential election before deciding whether to set up an exchange.