Daniels looks to successors on health exchange

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Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels said Tuesday he plans to consult his potential successors before he decides whether the state should set up a health care exchange.

States have until Nov. 16 to submit a plan to the federal government for a health exchange. Daniels said he does not want to make a decision that binds the state's next governor without consulting the candidates.

"I don't consider it right for me or my administration to make such a decision that the next administration then has to implement. So I'm going to have to find some way to get input from the next governor," the Republican governor said.

Daniels' comments Tuesday echoed his previous statements that he would leave the choice of whether to expand Medicaid coverage to his successor.

Libertarian Rupert Boneham, Democrat John Gregg and Republican Mike Pence are running for governor. Daniels is barred by law from seeking a third term.

"I just don't think it would be appropriate for me to make a decision about what the essential benefits should be that the next team will have to fund, or in particular whether to have an exchange," Daniels said.

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled last month that the part of the federal law enabling health insurance exchanges is constitutional. States can choose to create their own exchange or have residents seek insurance via a federal exchange. The court also ruled that the states cannot be forced to expand Medicaid coverage.

Spokespeople for the Gregg and Pence campaigns said they look forward to working with Daniels. Gregg spokesman Daniel Altman said they want to "make affordable healthcare available to all Hoosiers."

Pence has been a consistent opponent of the federal health care law and "will continue to work to protect taxpayers and individual freedom," said Christy Denault, Pence's communications director.

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