Alaska’s Parnell Says ‘No Thanks” to Federal Health Insurance Exchange $$

February 18, 2011 ( – Alaska Governor Sean Parnell has announced that Alaska will not apply for federal grants to implement health insurance exchanges.

A Parnell news release said his decision comes in the wake of a judge’s ruling that the health care reform act is unconstitutional (see Florida HCR Challengers Win on Commerce Clause Argument). 

“The Florida court’s declaratory judgment that the federal health care law is unconstitutional is the ‘law of the land’ as it applies to Alaska, and we will not proceed down an unlawful course to implement it,” Parnell declared in the news release.“Supporters of government mandates in health care want Alaskans to conclude that if we don’t take the federal money that somehow we are not moving forward with health care initiatives in this state. That is false.”

The State Division of Insurance is reviewing the potential for developing a health insurance exchange without federal dollars, according to the governor. The division is evaluating data and software applications that could be used to create an Internet portal to provide better insurance information and more health care access.

Parnell said he has directed the Department of Health and Social Services to work with providers on chronic care management and primary care access for Alaska’s “most vulnerable” citizens. The commissioner will also work to “streamline enrollment for existing public assistance programs and increase efficiency by utilizing telemedicine and electronic health records,” the announcement said.