US extends key deadline of Obama healthcare reform law

US states will be given additional time to decide whether to put in place a key aspect of President Barack Obama's health care reform program, the administration's top health policy official said Thursday.

In a letter to governors of Louisiana and Virginia, Secretary of Health and Human Services said that states now will be given until December 14 to decide whether to put in place their own "state-based exchange"—or online marketplaces—aimed at helping consumers and small businesses shop for healthcare coverage.

She made her announcement one day before the original November 16 deadline.

"While receiving a letter of intent now will help us assist states in finalizing their application, a state may submit both a letter of intent and an application to operate its own exchange by December 14," Sebelius wrote in the letter, a copy of which was obtained by AFP.

If states miss next month's deadline, the federal government will step in and do it from them.

Texas Governor Rick Perry said in a letter to Sebelius on Thursday that his state would not be creating an exchange.

"It is clear there is no such thing as a state exchange," Perry wrote.

"Instead, this is a federally mandated exchange with rules dictated by Washington."

Signed by Obama in March 2010 and upheld by the Supreme Court in June, the Act law aims to provide to an additional 30 million Americans. States are required to gradually implement it by 2014.

The law bars insurance companies from denying coverage to children with pre-existing conditions, allows parents to keep children on their medical insurance plans until age 26, and prohibits lifetime limits on coverage.

A number of Republican governors, hoping the law would be overturned, dragged their feet as they waited to see whether Obama would win re-election amid promises by his rival, , to repeal the measure, dubbed "Obamacare" by some.

Related Stories

Gov. Perry says Texas won't expand Medicaid

date Jul 10, 2012

(AP) — The Republican governor of Texas said Monday that his state won't establish an online marketplace for patients to shop for insurance or expand the government health care program for the poor and disabled — ...

Aide says Romney thinks US health mandate not a tax

date Jul 02, 2012

A top aide to White House hopeful Mitt Romney thrust a wrench Monday into the Republican attack line that President Barack Obama's individual health insurance mandate is a tax, arguing it's actually a penalty.

US says 129 million people have health woes

date Jan 18, 2011

As many as 129 million people in the United States, or almost half of those under 65, have a pre-existing condition that could bar them from health insurance, a government report said Tuesday.

Recommended for you

India's bidi workers suffer for 1,000-a-day habit

date 16 hours ago

Zainab Begum Alvi and her band of young helpers hunch over baskets filled with tobacco flakes and dried leaves, trying to roll a thousand dirt-cheap cigarettes a day at the behest of India's powerful bidi barons.

Key to better sex ed: Focus on gender & power

date Apr 17, 2015

A new analysis by Population Council researcher Nicole Haberland provides powerful evidence that sexuality and HIV education programs addressing gender and power in intimate relationships are far more likely ...

Journal tackles aging policy issues raised by White House

date Apr 17, 2015

In anticipation of the forthcoming 2015 White House Conference on Aging (WHCoA), The Gerontological Society of America (GSA) has produced a special issue of The Gerontologist that outlines a vision for older adults' econom ...

User comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.