KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations.

Who’s In? Who’s Out? Who’s Yet To Decide?

With the deadline looming, news outlets report on the positions states are taking regarding the establishment of state-based health insurance exchanges.  

The Associated Press: Calif. Health Board OKs Plan For Insurance Exchange
The board overseeing California's efforts to establish an insurance marketplace for providing affordable health care approved its operational blueprint Wednesday, an essential step toward meeting a key deadline under the federal health care reform law. The governor's office is expected to forward the plan to the Obama administration on Friday, the deadline for states to notify the federal government about whether they plan to establish health care exchanges (Verdin, 11/14).

The Associated Press: Branstad: Too Much Still Unknown On Health Insurance Exchange
Gov. Terry Branstad plans to tell the federal government Friday that Iowa still doesn't have enough information to move forward with a state-based insurance marketplace under the new federal health care law, a spokesman said Wednesday. The federal government has imposed a Friday deadline for states to confirm whether they will create their own health exchanges for consumers and small businesses (11/15).

The Associated Press: New Mexico Moves Ahead With Health Exchange
Gov. Susana Martinez's administration is moving ahead to establish a state-run clearinghouse to help small businesses and tens of thousands of individuals find affordable health insurance they currently lack. A fight over the exchange, however, could break out in next year's Legislature (Massey, 11/14).

The Associated Press: Mike Chaney Sends Mississippi Plans For Insurance Exchange To Feds
Mississippi's insurance commissioner is going ahead with a state health insurance exchange, over objections from Gov. Phil Bryant, a fellow Republican. Commissioner Mike Chaney sent a letter Wednesday to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services saying Mississippi will run its own exchange. He said the state will submit the full plan by Friday (Amy, 11/14).

The Associated Press: Pence Eyes Health Plan Link
Gov.-elect Mike Pence has ruled out building a state-run health insurance exchange but appears to be leaving open the option of running a joint venture with the federal government as a critical decision deadline draws near. State leaders have until Friday to declare whether they will manage their own programs for providing insurance plans under the federal health care law (LoBianco, 11/15). 

Anchorage Daily News/McClatchy: Alaska Rejects State-Run Health Insurance Exchange
Gov. Sean Parnell announced in July that Alaska would not create a state-run health insurance exchange, and he is sticking by that, Parnell spokeswoman Sharon Leighow said Tuesday. Under the federal Affordable Care Act, each state is supposed to have an exchange, a marketplace where residents can shop for private health insurance and apply for federal subsidies to help pay for it, if they are eligible. States can create the exchanges on their own, or do it in partnership with the federal government, or leave the whole project to the U.S. Department of Health and Social Services (Shinohara, 11/15).

Bloomberg: Florida Governor Scott Drops Opposition To Health Law
Florida Governor Rick Scott dropped his opposition to President Barack Obama's health overhaul, saying he wants to negotiate on the issue that began his political career. "I don't think anyone involved in trying to improve health care should say, 'no, no, no,'" Scott, a 59-year-old Republican, told the Associated Press. "Let's have a conversation." Scott's conversion came one week after Election Day, when Florida voters supported Obama's re-election and struck down a constitutional amendment aimed at making it harder to implement the health law (Bender, 11/14).

The Arizona Republic: Brewer's Decision Looms On Health-Care Act
With the nation's health-reform law firmly in place, Gov. Jan Brewer must declare this week whether Arizona will play a pivotal role in the sweeping health-care overhaul or hand over that duty to the federal government. Arizona and other states must decide by Friday whether to establish an Internet-based marketplace for consumers and small businesses to purchase health insurance or cede that authority to the federal government. ... So far, Brewer has not tipped her hand (Alltucker, 11/14).

Politico Pro: Walker Cites 'Significant Concerns' About Wisconsin Exchange
Scott Walker said here Wednesday that Wisconsin will announce on Friday whether it will set up its own health exchange — but he's already voicing some serious worries about the consequences if it does. Weighing options he sees as flawed and insisting that he remains undecided, the governor sounded torn and conflicted during a news conference at the Republican Governors Association (Hohmann, 11/15).

North Carolina Health News: NC Health Benefits Exchange In Holding Pattern
As deadlines loom for states to tell the federal government their plans for implementing the Affordable Care Act (known as Obamacare), big questions still remain about how the law will look in North Carolina. The most immediate question is what choice the state will make for running a health benefits exchange – an online marketplace where state residents can go to shop for insurance options…. States that choose not to run their own exchanges will be defaulted to a federally run exchange, something many North Carolina legislators have said they would prefer not happen. During the 2011 session, the state House of Representatives passed a bill expressing that intent, but the bill did not make it through the state Senate (Hoban, 11/14).

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