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Pence asks Daniels to deny state-run exchange

August 21, 2012

Republican gubernatorial candidate Mike Pence is asking Gov. Mitch Daniels to reject a state-run health insurance exchange called for by the federal health care law.

Pence wrote in a letter to Daniels Tuesday that there is "too much uncertainty" to approve a state exchange.

Daniels asked the three gubernatorial candidates in early August for their input as he decides whether to establish a state health insurance exchange.

Daniels wrote in a July 30 letter that the decision should be made with the candidates because one of them — Pence, Democrat John Gregg or Libertarian Rupert Boneham — will bear the responsibility of the decision.

Daniels has until Nov. 16 to submit a plan to federal officials for an exchange. If the state does not establish its own insurance exchange, Indiana residents would have to seek insurance via the federal exchange. The exchanges are meant to allow consumers to comparison shop for insurance.

He also asked the candidates to weigh in on what benefits should be covered by Medicaid and insurers included in a potential exchange, as the state must submit a plan for them next month.

"Because the cost and consequences of our decision in these two matters will be borne by the next administration, I do not believe it would be right for me to make these choices," Daniels wrote in the letter.

The Supreme Court's vote in June to uphold the individual mandate put the question back to state leaders. The high court also decided that states could not be forced to expand Medicaid coverage. Daniels has said that decision will have to be made by his successor.

A spokesman for Gregg said he planned to meet with Daniels in the coming weeks.

An email message seeking comment was sent to a spokesman for Boneham.

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