Following is a listing of legislative and executive action for the week of December 10. Members of the General Assembly are scheduled to return to session January 1.
The Corbett administration announced last week it will not establish a health care exchange in Pennsylvania under Obamacare, and said the federal government had forced its hand.
The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 requires states to implement exchanges, marketplaces where consumers can buy insurance coverage "cafeteria style." States like Pennsylvania that decline to do so hand authority to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to regulate the exchanges for them.
"For two years my administration has been engaged in careful planning around the implementation of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, continually seeking guidance from the federal government," Governor Tom Corbett said in a statement. "Throughout this time, we’ve asked HHS questions to help determine costs, impacts and flexibility in order to inform our decisions.
"Until this week, less than five days before the deadline for a state-based exchange decision and blueprint, we received little acknowledgement of those questions. Even HHS Secretary [Kathleen] Sebelius recently admitted on a call with governors that the regulations released a few weeks ago were not final and that more drafts are to be expected."
State Senator Mike Stack, D-Philadelphia, said he was disappointed the governor decided to "punt" the implementation of the exchanges.
"At a time when many people are looking for less federal regulation, Governor Corbett has decided to increase it," Stack said. "How can he criticize the federal government for interfering with states while giving the feds the green light to regulate our insurance market? It’s hypocritical."