KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations.

States React, Act On Health Law Waivers, Implementation Issues

Sen. Ron Wyden draws line in the sand about how health law waivers should be used. Meanwhile, Kansas' planning board continues its efforts toward the creation of a state-based health exchange while acknowledging that the federal government may end up in charge. Also, in Oregon, a consumer-run health plan is positioning itself to be included in the state's exchange.

Politico Pro: Wyden To Romney: Don't Abuse My Waivers
The author of the health care reform law's state innovation waivers says he's glad Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney is interested in them, but he'll be the first to call foul if the presidential contender uses them to undermine health care reform. Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) says Romney's waiver plan won't work in the way he intends it to. Romney has repeatedly said he'd use "waivers" to allow the states to get around big pieces of the Affordable Care Act. As Politico reported last week, his team hopes to use the law's state innovation waivers to allow states to skirt the individual mandate, employer requirements and exchanges in 2017 (Haberkorn, 10/21).

Kansas Health Institute News: Exchange Planning Group Eyes Governing Structure 
Come Jan. 1, 2014, Kansas very likely won't be operating its own health insurance exchange. But that won't be for lack of planning. A work group that has been meeting regularly since January, today discussed major details of how a state-run exchange would be governed and operate, all the while acknowledging the greater possibility that the federal government will end up running the show (Shields, 10/20).

The Lund Report: Consumer-Run Health Plan Applies for Federal Funds
A new consumer-owned health plan sponsored by CareOregon has applied for a nearly $7 million start-up loan from the federal government. ... "One piece of the [health law] is that each state can have one co-operative on the health insurance exchange," said Martin Taylor, public policy director for CareOregon. This plan is intended for people whose incomes are too high to qualify for Medicaid and cannot afford to purchase other coverage (McCurdy, 10/20). 

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