As deadline looms, Corbett still hesitates on Pa. health-care exchange

    State Senate Democrats are making one last, largely symbolic effort to convince Gov. Tom Corbett to put Pennsylvania’s health-care exchange firmly in state regulators’ hands.

    Even if the exchange isn’t run by the state from the outset, Corbett says he can always opt to switch from a federally run exchange to one that is overseen by the commonwealth.

    Sen. Mike Stack of Philadelphia, the ranking Democrat on the Senate Banking and Insurance Committee, acknowledges it’s an option.

    “I think it’s better to have that state control at the earliest point in time but, yes, under Gov. Corbett’s perceived plan right now, it appears he’s going to wait until after the deadline and allow the federal government to set up an exchange,” Stack said.

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    The deadline to decide is Friday.

    In 2011, the state’s insurance commissioner said he believed the state would do a much better job of regulating health insurance than the federal government.

    A spokeswoman for the Insurance Department says that’s still true based on research and talks with stakeholders.

    But she says the federal government has only this week started answering the commonwealth’s questions about how it would have to build and manage the exchange.

    The health-care exchanges, essentially state-specific online marketplaces to buy health care, will be operational by 2014.

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