KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations.

States Respond To Health Law With Lawsuits, Policy Shifts

The New York Times: "The insurance commissioner of Georgia has chosen not to comply with a federal request to create a state pool for high-risk insurance plans, opening a new front in the resistance by state Republican officials to the new federal health care law." The commissioner is a Republican candidate for governor (R. Brown, 4/13).

Reuters: Georgia and five other states will join a lawsuit filed in March by 13 states that oppose the health overhaul. Bill McCollum, Florida's attorney general and a Republican gubernatorial candidate, is among the leaders of the lawsuit-filing states. He said, "The federal government cannot mandate that all citizens buy qualifying health care coverage or be forced to pay a tax penalty - this is unconstitutional" (T. Brown, 4/13).

The Seattle Times: "Gov. Chris Gregoire is demanding her own attorney to fight a lawsuit supported by Attorney General Rob McKenna challenging a key provision of the health-care overhaul passed by Congress. Gregoire said Tuesday she plans to team up with fellow Democratic Govs. Bill Ritter of Colorado, Ed Rendell of Pennsylvania and Jennifer Granholm of Michigan, who also find themselves at odds with Republican attorneys general over the case" (Brunner, 4/13).

The (Jackson, Miss.) Clarion-Ledger: "Gov. Haley Barbour said the enormous cost of the nation's new health care law quickly will poke a massive hole in the state's budget as some 375,000 people are added to the Medicaid rolls over the next decade. Barbour's office estimates the health care law will cost $10 billion over 10 years" (Parker, 4/14).

Las Vegas Review-Journal: "Despite his objections to the national health care reform law, Gov. Jim Gibbons joined Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto on Tuesday in agreeing to spend $279,119 in state money to set up a planning unit to prepare for 150,000 additional Medicaid recipients in 2014." He said, "I fundamentally disagree with the federal legislation that caused this need, but the law is the law" (Vogel, 4/13)

The Washington Post: "D.C. officials say the city will save millions of dollars from the recently approved federal health-care bill, a reward of sorts for the District's years-long push to offer nearly universal insurance access to its residents." The savings will be accrued as the District shifts many residents from a city-financed health plan to Medicaid, receiving first-time federal support for the costs of covering those people. Other states that, like the District, made voluntary investments in expanding health coverage, will be similarly positioned to gain new savings (Craig, 4/14).

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