Five Republican governors rejected on Friday a major provision of President Barack Obama’s healthcare reform law that calls on U.S. states to set up online health insurance markets where consumers can purchase private coverage at federally subsidized rates.
That makes it likely that the federal government will establish its own markets, known as healthcare exchanges, in those states and potentially supplant state control of private individual insurance markets.
But in what could be a sign of thawing relations between administration officials and some state Republican leaders, three of the five governors — representing Ohio, Michigan and Florida — expressed a willingness to work with Washington as reforms inch toward a Jan. 1, 2014, deadline for full operation.
Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker and Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal said they would not cooperate at all.
Missouri Gov. Jeremiah Nixon, a Democrat, said the state would not run its own exchange but did not take a position on a federal partnership. He said the state legislature could take up the issue early next year.
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