Governor Robert McDonnell’s office announced Friday Virginia will not set up a statewide health exchange.
Virginia was the first state to sue over the Affordable Care Act, The Washington Post reports. McDonnell, a longtime opponent of the mandate, says he favors a federal exchange because Washington has not given him enough information to determine whether Virginia can afford a state-run system.
In a letter to Kathleen Sebelius, U.S. secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS), McDonnell wrote he is unsure whether states have the “necessary flexibility, control and funding of their own exchanges,” The Daily Progress reports.
Virginia lawmakers were working on plans to build a state-run benefits exchange but decided to forego implementation, states WTVR. McDonnell is still considering a hybrid exchange for Virginia. He has until February 15 to decide.
Friday was the deadline for states to alert Washington whether they create a local exchange, rely on the federal government’s, or build a hybrid system with state and federal elements. The healthcare law mandates HHS to approve the blueprints for states that choose a local system by January 1.
As of Friday, 19 states have declared an internal exchange, 7 are planning a partnership exchange and 25 have defaulted to Washington, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation.