January 24, 2013 2:11PM

Gruber: No Reason for States to Establish ObamaCare Exchanges This Year

On Tuesday, I testified before the Florida Senate’s Select Committee on the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. Also testifying was economist Jonathan Gruber. Gruber is an architect of RomneyCare, and one of ObamaCare’s leading proponents. So it was significant when Gruber agreed that there is no reason for states to establish Exchanges this year:

Michael Cannon, director of health policy studies at the Cato Institute, and Jonathan Gruber, an economics professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, agreed on little about the federal health law, [yet] one bit of common ground emerged: Florida should go slow in its approach to a health‐​insurance exchange.

Gruber thinks that for 2014, states would be better off opting for a type of federal Exchange called a type of “partnership” Exchange, and then maybe running the Exchange themselves after that. I argue there is no reason for states to lift a finger to implement this law, now or ever, and that states would benefit from refusing both to establish an Exchange and to expand their Medicaid programs.

But now that ObamaCare’s leading proponent has acknowledged there is no reason for states to establish Exchanges this year, it will be easier for states who are still wrestling with that question (e.g., Idaho, Utah, North Carolina, Kentucky, Mississippi) to make up their minds.