Tennessee rejects state-run exchange under Obama's health law

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Haslam said he has opposed the healthcare law from the beginning but hoped Tennessee would be able to run its own exchange, rather than deferring to the federal government. He said Monday that a state-run exchange just doesn't seem plausible.

“This decision comes after months of consideration and analysis. It is a business decision based on what is best for Tennesseans with the information we have now that we’ve pressed hard to receive from Washington," Haslam said. "If this were a political decision, it would’ve been easy, and I would’ve made it a long time ago."

The Affordable Care Act envisions state-run exchanges in each state, but it authorizes fallback run by the federal government in states that don't act on their own. The Obama administration has aggressively pushed states to take on the task themselves, but Republican governors have roundly resisted implementing any part of the law.

States must tell the federal government by Friday whether they want to run their own exchanges. Those that decline can either defer entirely to the federal government or share the workload, taking on part of the task themselves.

Haslam said it's possible that Tennessee might be able to take over its exchange at some point.