Gov. Bev Perdue faced criticism this week from Senate leader Phil Berger for her choice of a state-federal health exchange, but her office said she had to pick a plan in order for the state to be eligible for millions in federal grants.
Berger, a Republican, said the outgoing Democratic governor should have left the choice to incoming Republican governor Pat McCrory.
States have three options for internet insurance marketplaces required under the federal law. Perdue chose the middle course so McCrory and the Republican-led legislature can pick something else if they want.
Berger said he didn't object applying for money, as long as it wasn't going to be wasted.
Perdue said the state was going for the state-federal exchange in a letter supporting the grant application for about $74 million. The application deadline was Thursday. The grant application required the governor to pick a option.
"If we signaled no intent, the federal government would choose for us full federal control," wrote Perdue spokeswoman Christine Mackey.
Update: Back and forth we go.
Berger spokeswoman Amy Auth says Perdue didn't have to go as far as she did in choosing a state-federal partnership to complete the grant application.
Here's what Auth wrote:
"The grant proposal is very carefully worded to only force a state to identify its 'anticipated exchange model.' But that’s not what Gov. Perdue did in her press conference. She definitively declared that she had “chosen” the state-federal option, not just laying a placeholder to request the grant funding.
The U.S. DHHS has clearly started the deadline for a declaration letter applying for a state/federal partnership exchange is February 15, 2013."