States' choices set up national health experiment

February 15, 2013 - 4:31 PM
Health Overhaul States' Choice

FILE -In this Dec. 28, 2011 file photo, then-Nebraska Sen. Ben Nelson, currently National Association of Insurance Commissioners CEO, smiles during an interview with The Associated Press in his Omaha, Neb office. President Barack Obama's health care overhaul is unfolding as a national experiment with American consumers as the guinea pigs: Who will do a better job getting uninsured people covered, the states or the feds? (AP Photo/Dave Weaver, File)

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama's health care overhaul is turning into a national experiment with consumers as the guinea pigs.

Here's the question: Who will do a better job getting uninsured people covered, the states or the feds?

Friday is the deadline for states to say if they want a say in running new insurance markets under the law. And the nation is about evenly split between mostly Democratic-led states that decided to jump in and mainly Republican-led defaulting to federal control.

Barring last-minute switches, 23 states plus Washington, D.C., will run their own markets or partner with the Obama administration. Twenty-six states are defaulting to the feds. Utah's status is unclear.

The CEO of the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, Ben Nelson, predicts experimentation will be good.