KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations.

States Consider Action On Health Care Reform

State leaders around America are considering their options in complying with or challenging the new health law.

The Baltimore Sun: In Maryland, a governor-appointed task force said yesterday that the state needs to begin acting right away on health reform. "Some provisions, such as how the state will administer high-risk pools, which offer insurance for people with pre-existing conditions who can't get coverage, kick in later this year and require immediate attention. Others are up to state leaders. For instance, Maryland may decide if it wants to expand Medicaid coverage to more low-income people than it does now in advance of a 2014 deadline." The task force, a 12-member council, started discussing the considerations Thursday. "The group made no decisions Thursday, but rolled out a timeline, which includes submitting a report to the governor by July 15, identifying the most critical state needs" (Brewington, 5/6). 

The (Peoria, Ill.) Journal Star: Lawmakers in Illinois have passed a bill that will monitor and study the new health reform law with a new task force. "The group would consist of 29 members - five will be appointed by Gov. Pat Quinn and six will be appointed by each of the legislative leaders - will represent health care professionals, the insurance industry, labor leaders, business interest and others and ensure the state complies with federal health care legislation" (McDonald, 5/6).

The Salt Lake Tribune: Utah and Rhode Island "remain the only states undecided about whether to set up temporary high risk insurance pools for the uninsurable as mandated under the new federal health overhaul. The decision is of little consequence to consumers since the task of running the pools will, by default, fall to the federal government. But it has political ramifications for Utah Republican Gov. Gary Herbert who, under a tight deadline and with limited information, must weigh what's best for the state while appeasing members of his own party who are pushing to opt out of health reform altogether." Lawmakers and others in Utah are pressuring the governor to either opt out or begin making decisions about implementation (Stewart, 5/6).

In a separate story, The Salt Lake Tribune reports that "Sixty-nine percent of registered and active Utah voters oppose the law, compared with 57 percent in November when Congress was still debating competing versions of President Barack Obama's health care fix. A slim majority would support Utah opting out of the new federal system, even if it greatly cost the state. And 64 percent favor Utah's move to challenge parts of the law as unconstitutional, according to a poll conducted last week by Mason-Dixon Polling and Research Inc., of Washington, D.C.," which was commissioned by the Tribune (Stewart, 5/6).

The [Carson City] Nevada Appeal: "Consultants told the Public Employee Benefits Program board Thursday that no one yet knows the impact the federal health care reform bill will have on the state program. Tim Nimmer of Aon Consulting said there are a couple of changes that will come in about a year but that guidelines for implementing other changes mandated by the legislation haven't been drafted yet" (Dornan, 5/7).

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