Haslam making use of extra time on exchanges

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -- Gov. Bill Haslam says he's taking advantage of an extended deadline the federal government has given states regarding health insurance exchanges.

States had until Friday to inform the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services if they plan to set up their own health insurance markets. But the deadline has been extended to Dec. 14.

Haslam has yet to reach a decision, but the Republican governor says he's hopeful that in the coming weeks he will receive answers from Washington to questions he has about the exchanges, mainly the amount of flexibility Tennessee would have if it set up its own.

“Let me be clear, I oppose the Affordable Care Act. I joined with other Republican governors earlier this year to fight the law. Unfortunately, the Supreme Court upheld a majority of it this summer, including the provision that states are required to either participate in a federal exchange or establish their own," said Haslam.

“I understand there is a lot of passion and uncertainty about the health care law, and I share that frustration. As governor, I believe it is my job to put emotions aside and to make the tough decisions on the serious issues that impact Tennesseans. That is what I'm working hard to do.”

Republican Senate Speaker Ron Ramsey of Blountville told reporters earlier this week that he expects the governor to keep his options open on the state-run exchange

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