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Out Of Time, N.C. Partners With Feds On Insurance Exchange

N.C. Department of Insurance

North Carolina is partnering with the federal government to set up a health insurance exchange. The exchange is a required part of President Obama's health care law, and it's supposed to be an online shop where people can compare and buy health insurance.

States have had more than two years to make a decision about insurance exchanges. North Carolina's governor and state legislature, like those in a lot of other states, decided to put it off. Maybe the Supreme Court would overturn it? That didn't happen. But then they thought, well, maybe a new Republican president would push for its repeal? No dice there, either.

"Those states that gambled lost on that, and now the date that everyone has known about for several years is here upon us," North Carolina Insurance Commissioner Wayne Goodwin said, "so the only options we have available are either to pursue a hybrid federal-state exchange or a federal exchange."

North Carolina went with the hybrid, and now Goodwin is one of the people in charge of making it happen. He said choosing the partnership was the right call. It means the state could still set up its own exchange down the road.  

"Personally, I hope that we have a state-based exchange because North Carolinians need to decide what's best for North Carolinians, not the federal government."

Goodwin says he's shared that with Governor-elect Pat McCrory and the Republican-controlled state legislature, the two of which will ultimately decide how the state moves forward with its health insurance exchange.