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Florida will miss health exchange deadline, feds to step in

As expected, Florida will not be notifying the federal government today that it wants to run its own health exchange. And now that the deadline has passed, it is all but guaranteed that the federal government will run Florida's exchange, at least in the initial stages.

Gov. Rick Scott's office said he is in contact with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and it still hoping for the meeting he requested with Secretary Kathleen Sebelius to discuss concerns about implementing the health exchanges and Medicaid expansion outlined in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. Since that hasn't happened yet, the state won't give the federal government an answer on what it plans to do.

"At this time we do not have sufficient information on the cost of implementing a state health care exchange to Florida taxpayers, Florida businesses or Florida health insurance purchasers," said Jackie Schutz, the governor's spokeswoman. "We are looking forward to getting more information from HHS and the president.”

No one was really expecting Florida to announce by today's deadline that it will set up a state-based health exchange. Last week, Sen. Aaron Bean said the federal government would likely run Florida's health exchange to start it off.

As many as 36 states have opted to let the funds run their exchanges. Thursday, a federal official told a U.S. House of Representative health oversight committee that the federal government will be ready to start enrolling eligible families into exchanges in October 2013, Reuters reported.