Christie the latest GOP governor to refuse Obamacare exchanges
He may have embraced the president just before the election, but New Jersey Governor Chris Christie is keeping his distance from Obama when it comes to implementing Obamacare.
Echoing complaints from other Republican governors who have declined to build the key component of the president's health law, Christie stressed unanswered questions and potential costs.
"We will comply with the Affordable Care Act but only in the most efficient and cost-effective way for New Jersey taxpayers," he said in a statement.
But he said the federal government hasn't told states what they need to make the assessment.
"Thus far, we lack such critical information from the federal government. I will not ask New Jerseyans to commit today to a state-based exchange when the federal government cannot tell us what it will cost, how that cost compares to other options and how much control they will give the states over this option that comes at the cost of our state's taxpayers."
By rejecting a state-based exchange, Christie - thought to be considering a 2016 presidential run - will please conservatives who have pressed states to resist Obamacare implementation in the aftermath of the elections. And now, New Jersey joins the growing ranks of states that will let the feds set up an exchange within their borders.
About 30 states already have signaled they'll let the administration play a role in their exchanges, whether that means running it entirely or partnering with the states. With open enrollment scheduled to start in October, the administration has consistently assured states that they'll be ready to run exchanges for those that refuse to do their own.
The federal government has about 10 months to set up exchanges in at least 30 states. Each exchange will be different, reflecting the different insurance mandates in each state, different insurance carriers, among other problems to be solved. Just the logistics of such a monumental task may be impossible to achieve.
Look for HHS to ask congress for an extension - possibly well into 2014 - to meet the deadline for the exchanges.