Pennsylvania Refuses Obamacare’s State Health Exchange, and for Good Reason

Tom CorbettYesterday, Pennsylvania became the 28th state to refuse to build its own Obamacare health exchange. What interested me about Governor Tom Corbett’s decision, though, was not that he made it but why.

Gov. Corbett said the Obama administration did not until this week provide answers to questions about the “costs, impacts and flexibility” that he needed in order to inform his decision.

“Healthcare reform is too important to be achieved through haphazard planning. Pennsylvania taxpayers and businesses deserve more,” Corbett said in a statement. “They deserve informed decision making and a strong plan that responsibly uses taxpayer dollars.”

Corbett continued, “It would be irresponsible to put Pennsylvanians on the hook for an unknown amount of money to operate a system under rules that have not been fully written.”

Corbett said the state-based exchanges can be re-evaluated each year but for now the decision Pennsylvania consumers will rely on the exchange created by the federal government.

Earlier this month, the Governor practically begged the Obama administration to give his office more information about what Washington would require and hung his decision mostly on whether he got a sufficient answer or not.

In an interview with capitol reporters last week, Corbett said he had not yet gotten information he needs to make a good decision.

“I’m still waiting. You know, what are the rules? Let us know. Answer our questions. We don’t even need to have the regulations final, just answer our questions. And we haven’t gotten the answers to the questions. So in those circumstances, what would you do?”

All that, Corbett says, despite attempts to get it.

“I have a fiduciary duty to the people of Pennsylvania with a decision that’s going to have a lengthy impact. Now how do I do that without the information? I’m sitting, I’m awaiting. I’ll give it a little bit longer, then I’ll make a decision. But we need the answers.”

Washington gave him nothing, so he made the decision any responsible public official would have taken — he refused to tie his state to a system that the people who devised it can’t fully explain.