Gov. Nixon: Missouri Won't Establish Health Care Exchanges

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. -- Gov. Jay Nixon announced Thursday that the state of Missouri will not establish state level health care exchanges, as required by the 2010 federal health care law.

During his first news conference since being re-elected, Nixon said that opposition from the Republican controlled General Assembly, coupled with his new requirement to gain their approval before establishing the exchange, has made it impossible to meet the November 16 requirement.

"The only option available at this time is to indicate that we will not be able to proceed with a state based exchange, at this time, absent a change in circumstances," Nixon said.

After the November 16 deadline, the federal government will -- based on the health care law -- move in to establish an exchange for the state. Nixon said that is not an "ideal approach" for the state, but claimed it to be his only option given the circumstances.

"Regulating the insurance market is a power best left in the hands of the states where we can perform those duties more efficiently and effectively," he said.

Nixon was critical of the legislature for "not willing to address" the issue in recent years, pointing to unanimous approval of exchanges by the Republican controlled state House of Representatives just three years ago.

Nixon was mum about the federal health care law throughout his reelection campaign. Of another issue -- the opportunity for the state to tap a federal funding pool for Medicaid expansion -- Nixon said he will deal with that during his budgeting talks leading up to his state of the state address in January.

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