18 states decide not to create insurance pools for uninsured

Eighteen governors throughout the nation have ultimately decided against creating temporary high-risk insurance pools for those who are uninsured due to pre-existing conditions. The new health reform law allocates a total $5 billion to the states for the creation of such plans, which would run through Jan. 1, 2014.

The 18 governors -- most of whom are Republican -- who decided to leave the job to the Obama Administration said the funding is insufficient and would force their states to fund the program once the seed money ran out.

"I do not believe the aggressive implementation and the lack of assurances on financial solvency of the program are in the best interest of Texas taxpayers, families, patients or health care providers," Texas governor Rick Perry said on Friday. Texas, which has the highest rate of uninsured in the nation at 25 percent, is one of 35 states that already operates its own high-risk pool. 

Twenty-nine states -- mostly led by Democratic governors -- as well as Washington, D.C., said they would participate in the plan. 

The states that opted not to administer the risk pools include Alabama, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Indiana, Louisiana, Minnesota, Mississippi, Nebraska, Nevada, North Dakota, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia and Wyoming, the Washington Post reports. Only three of the states -- Delaware, Tennessee, and Wyoming -- are led by Democratic governors. The federal government will put the pools into place as a result.

"The good news is that regardless of the state's decision there will be more affordable insurance available through high-risk pools for those with pre-existing conditions," Stacey Pogue, a senior policy analyst with the Center for Public Policy Priorities in Texas, said to the Dallas Morning News. Pogue also said that the federal program would cost essentially half of what the current state program costs. 

To learn more:
- read this Politico article
- read this Dallas Morning News piece
- read this Washington Post article
- here's Gov. Perry's statement on the federal program
- read this HHS fact sheet on the program
- read this Los Angeles Times story