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WY Governor turns down $1 million federal health care grant
CHEYENNE, Wyoming: On June 24, Gov. Dave Freudenthal announced that he would not be applying for a $1 million federal grant intended to help the state create a review process for unreasonable health insurance rate hikes. The grant is part of the federal health care overhaul under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. The act mandates that each state must review excessive insurance rate hikes each year.
Freudenthal issued a press release explaining that he did not believe this was in the state's best interest:
"I make this decision for two reasons. First, the rules and regulations governing this effort won't be available until late summer or early fall. Without the rules and regulations there is too much uncertainty. I was particularly concerned that there is no definition of "unreasonable" with regard to rate increases for health insurance coverage. Second, the current statutory authority of the Wyoming Insurance Commissioner would not allow us to fulfill the objective of this grant."
He went on to say that it was premature to apply for the grant, as first the Wyoming Legislature would have to give the state insurance commissioner greater powers before a review process could be put in place. Prior to his decision, the governor's office had received over 200 phone calls and emails asking him to turn down the grant.