KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations.

States Wrestle With Decisions Regarding How To Move Forward On Exchanges

News outlets report on how various states are responding to the implementation of the health law now that President Barack Obama has been re-elected.  

The Associated Press: Constituencies Bend Fallin's Ear On Health Care
Looming decisions for Gov. Mary Fallin on how Oklahoma will respond to the sweeping federal health care law are prompting an energetic, behind-the-scenes lobbying effort by hospitals, insurance companies, business and industry groups, and other constituencies that will be affected by provisions of the law. Fallin is expected to announce within the next week her position on whether the state will move ahead with setting up a state-based online health insurance marketplace, or exchange, required under the law (Murphy, 11/13).

The Associated Press: Arkansas Moves Forward On Health Overhaul
Arkansas officials say the state is moving forward with implementing parts of the federal health care law after an election that provided clarity on the federal level but uncertainty in the state Legislature about the political future of the controversial legislation. ... Officials with Gov. Mike Beebe's administration say the election at the national level provides some certainty on the future of the law as it takes effect in the state. Congress returns today and begins efforts to avoid the "fiscal cliff" of automatic spending cuts and tax increases (DeMillo, 11/12).

(St. Paul) Pioneer Press: Changes In Minnesota Health Care Look Likelier
The shift in control of the state Legislature from Republicans to Democrats should create a smoother path for Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton to implement his plans for a state health insurance exchange next year. What's more, there's now less chance of a fight over whether to expand the Medicaid health insurance program for low-income and disabled residents. Those are two of the clearest health care implications from election victories this week by the Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party in Minnesota (Snowbeck, 11/9).

Minneapolis Star Tribune: Federal Health Care Law: Now It's Full Speed Ahead
With President Obama's victory in hand, it's full steam ahead on implementing the federal health care law. States face a Friday deadline to say whether they'll build their own heath insurance exchanges in 2014, or else live with a version being designed by the federal government. In a month, they'll need detailed blueprints that show they'll be ready to flip the switch (Crosby, 11/11).

The Associated Press: Election Clears Path For Minn. Health Exchange
Republican lawmakers who refused to help Gov. Mark Dayton develop Minnesota's online health insurance marketplace while they hoped for a changing of the guard in Washington will now be on the sidelines while Democrats move ahead. Tuesday's results confirmed the federal health care law is here to stay (Lohn, 11/12).

The Associated Press: State-Run Health Exchange Faces GOP Roadblock
Republican Gov. Bill Haslam says Tennessee could design its own health insurance exchange required under Democratic President Barack Obama's health care law, but resistance in the GOP-controlled General Assembly may cause the state to hand that power off to the federal government. States have until Friday to inform the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services if they plan to set up their own health insurance markets, and Haslam's decision could come down to the wire. The governor opposes the new health care law but said he can see reasons for not deferring the exchange to federal government (Schelzig, 11/11).

The Dallas Morning News: Texas GOP Leaders Still Resist Federal Health Care Law; Others Try To Expand Coverage
President Barack Obama's federal health care law may be safe from repeal, but it’s drawing nothing close to a salute in Texas. Just as before last week's election, state leaders castigate President Barack Obama's signature legislative achievement, even after he won re-election and Democrats strengthened their grip on the U.S. Senate (Garrett, 11/11).

California Healthline: Budget, Special Session, Exchange Votes On Tap
November and December are supposed to be off-time for California lawmakers, but not this year. This week, the Legislative Analyst's Office is expected to release its budget forecast. Also this week, the Health Benefit Exchange board will vote on submission of its federal establishment grant. A number of health reform guidelines are expected to be released soon by federal health officials who are also dealing with a deadline this week for states to declare whether or not they will form their own exchanges (Gorn, 11/12).

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Obama Administration Extends Health Exchange Deadline
The Obama administration moved Friday to give states more time to submit plans for setting up insurance exchanges in 2013, a central pillar of the health care law…. Wisconsin is among the states in which officials are scrambling to decide on a response. State Rep. Jon Richards, a Democrat from Milwaukee, said the decision offers Gov. Scott Walker administration's a "reprieve," providing the state a chance to reach out to stakeholders and get a proposal for implementing the law (11/9).

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