Gov. Jan Brewer said Wednesday she has decided against Arizona operating a health insurance exchange under the U.S. Affordable Care Act.

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In a press release, Brewer was quoted as saying she had notified the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services that the state will defer to the federal government. Under the law, the government will operate an exchange that will create a marketplace for individuals to purchase subsidized health insurance.

Brewer said she was worried about the cost of an exchange to the state's taxpayers.

Matthew Benson, a spokesman for the governor, said Wednesday there were also too many unknowns in the plan.

" So many of the rules remain unwritten and guidelines that have been unissued by the federal government. In a lot of ways it is like the Obama administration is building a big ol' airplane and it is running down the runway. And the governor is just not interested in participating in this thing at this point."

Brewer called the decision to forgo forming an exchange one of the most difficult of her career.

"My opposition to the Affordable Care Act is unwavering, as is my belief that it should be repealed and replaced with legislation that achieves its stated goals: to improve access to quality, affordable health care in this country."

She said she recognizes that it is the law of the land and will abide by it.

“The state of Arizona has a long history of health care innovation. Our Medicaid program, AHCCCS, has been a national model of cost-efficient care for three decades, and our pioneering pursuit of integrated health is designed to improve the quality of life for Arizonans living with serious mental illness," Brewer said.

Tens of thousands of Arizona's poor were removed from AHCCCS rolls in the last two years when the state had to cut its budget drastically.

Read the Governor's Letter Turning Down the Exchange: View at Google Docs | Download File