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Connecticut Encounters Difficulty in Implementing a State Health Insurance Exchange

Under ObamaCare, states are given the option of creating a state-run health insurance exchange to implement ObamaCare in their state, a federal-state partnership health insurance exchange, or refuse to implement a state exchange and force the federal government to implement an exchange. In a previous post, I wrote about how state health insurance exchanges are the federal government’s way of passing along the cost of implementing ObamaCare to the states, detailing how much more expensive it is for a state to implement a health insurance exchange as compared to the costs the federal government faces when implementing a health insurance exchange for a state. Connecticut, the first state to be approved for a state health insurance exchange by the Department of Health and Human Services, is now experiencing firsthand how difficult it is for a state exchange to keep up with the expansive health care regulations put into place by the federal government as part of ObamaCare.

Despite Connecticut being one of the states the furthest along in creating a health insurance exchange for their residents, the CEO of Connecticut’s exchange program, Access Health CT, has announced that the exchange has stopped implementing any new federal regulations as of March 1. Kevin Counihan, the CEO of Connecticut’s public health insurance exchange, made the announcement that Connecticut would not be implementing any new ObamaCare regulations in an interview with the Associated Press, saying that “If [the federal government] keep[s] adding new regulations, I'm sorry. We have to suddenly say, 'enough is enough.’” According to the Associated Press report, Counihan has said that any new ObamaCare regulations would be addressed by Access Health CT “later,” though no actual date for when “later” would be has been specified. Simply put, the federal government continues to create new regulations for the implementation of ObamaCare, and before the state exchanges created to implement ObamaCare have even been put into place, the regulations faced by states implementing insurance exchanges have proven to be too burdensome.

Although Counihan’s announcement regarding the implementation of new ObamaCare regulations in Connecticut is significant, other revelations from the Access Health CT CEO’s interview with the Associated Press provide additional insight into just how problematic implementing ObamaCare is going to be for states that made the decision to create their own state-run health insurance exchange.

In his interview, Kevin Counihan predicted that it would take at least three to four years for Connecticut’s state-run exchange to iron out any problems the exchange may have, and that it would take at least four to five years for the exchange to reduce the number of uninsured Connecticuters. These predictions are made by Counihan under the current state of federal ObamaCare regulations, though the number of regulations is certain to increase, as the recent Access Health CT decision shows. As the federal government creates more and more regulations for the implementation of ObamaCare, the number of problems associated with Connecticut’s state health insurance exchange is likely to increase as well.

The Associated Press’ story on Connecticut’s health exchange problems makes note of the fact that Connecticut is one of the states that is one of the “furthest along in preparing to enroll patients in the new health insurance marketplace.” As other states reach the same point in implementing their own state exchanges that Connecticut has currently reached, these states will face the same regulatory burdens that Access Health CT is currently struggling with, and may make the same decision to halt the implementation of any new federal ObamaCare regulations. It was already well known that ObamaCare is an unnecessary, expansive government overreach into the American health care industry, but state exchanges that are unable to handle the massive regulations put into place by the federal government show just how expansive and burdensome ObamaCare is on states and taxpayers, now and in the future.

For more information on ObamaCare exchanges and FreedomWorks’ efforts to block them, visit and check out our action map to see where your state stands on the implementation of health insurance exchanges under ObamaCare.