By Sam Baker - 02/15/13 09:31 PM EST
Three Republican governors said Friday they will not work with the Obama administration to establish new insurance exchanges in their states.
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, Florida Gov. Rick Scott and Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam said they would not embrace a "partnership" model for their exchanges — the central component of President Obama's healthcare law.
All three had previously rejected purely state-run exchanges. Friday is the deadline for states to decide whether they're interested in a partnership — a model in which the state and the federal government would share responsibility for operating a new insurance marketplace.
The governors' rejections mean that the federal government will run exchanges in New Jersey, Florida and Tennessee.
"My Administration is committed to meeting our obligation to comply with the Affordable Care Act, but only in a manner that is the most effective and efficient for the residents of New Jersey, and the businesses that will carry the costs of this new program," Christie said in a statement as he rejected the partnership exchange.
Christie emphasized the work his administration has done to comply with the healthcare law, including moving ahead on state-based elements like the selection of an "essential benefits" plan. But Christie said he simply doesn't want to participate in setting up his state's exchange.
"In order to move forward in a manner that best meets that standard for our families and businesses, and that ensures that all New Jerseyans have access to the best healthcare options supported by the most effective insurance coverage, I have determined that federal operation of the Exchange is the responsible choice for our state," he said.
Florida's Scott had sounded some notes of compromise about the exchange after Obama's reelection. He came to Washington to meet with Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, and said he wanted to "get to yes" if at all possible on an exchange.
Ultimately, he didn't get there. Scott has been one of the most aggressive critics of the Affordable Care Act — Florida took the lead in the major Supreme Court case challenging the law as unconstitutional.
The Obama administration has pushed the partnership model aggressively, arguing that states should keep some control over their insurance marketplaces.