SALT LAKE CITY — Gov. Gary Herbert now has more time to decide whether Utah should defy state GOP legislative leaders and tell the Obama administration the state will run a federal health insurance exchange.

The deadline for a decision was moved from Friday to Dec. 14 by the administration after the Republican Governors Association sent a letter this week to President Barack Obama complaining the time frame was "simply unworkable." 

The new exchanges, mandated under the Affordable Care Act commonly known as Obamacare, can be established by the states or left up to the federal government to put together.

Herbert is being pressured by the Republican leaders of the Utah Legislature to not get involved in the Democratic president's program. In a letter to the governor this week, the leaders said Utah should not spend any time or resources on the exchange.

A spokeswoman for the governor responded by saying Herbert "shares the same concerns legislative leaders have when it comes to determining a course for Utah's health exchange" and said he remained undecided.

Utah's governor joined his GOP counterparts nationwide in deferring the decision in the hope that Mitt Romney would win the presidency and follow through on his campaign pledge to have the health reform act repealed.

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