What Money Will HHS Use to Set Up Backstop Exchanges In The States?


What Money Will HHS Use to Set Up Backstop Exchanges In The States?

Wednesday, August 17th, 2011 - 8:04
Wednesday, August 17, 2011 - 07:53
There is no specific money set aside to set up insurance exchanges that can't, or won't, do it themselves.

An article in Politico discusses how the federal government is handing out hundreds of millions of dollars to states to assist them as they set up insurance exchanges, but that HHS doesn't have any specific money to use if it is forced to set up exchanges on its own.

Under the health reform law, HHS must set up exchanges in states that aren't able, or willing, to it on their own by January 2014. We have speculated on this blog before about how much HHS will step in and whether its staffing will be adequate to handle the responsibility.

According to Politico, money could be a problem as well. There are no specific funds set aside that HHS can use to support its work backing up the states, and the overall amount of money it has to set up the health law in general, at about $1 billion, is relatively small for the size of the law's responsibilities.

HHS officials say they can move money around to make it work. But if more states than expected can't set up exchanges on their own, life could become very difficult for HHS.