KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations.

States Gear Up For Implementation, Others Continue To Fight Overhaul

Chillicothe Gazette/Gannett: "The spotlight on health care has shifted from the federal government, which wrote the recently passed overhaul legislation, to states, which will be in charge of much of the implementation. States will oversee the expansion of Medicaid, enforce the new insurance reforms and set up and run the new insurance 'exchanges' for small businesses and people who aren't offered coverage through an employer. States can start applying for grants for consumer assistance offices and have until the end of the month to tell the federal government whether they want to participate in high-risk pools that will be created this year to temporarily help people with pre-existing conditions get coverage." In Michigan and Washington, panels have already been created to oversee the changes. "But many states are fighting the overhaul. The attorneys general in 19 states are challenging the new law's constitutionality. And some governors have complained that, despite the additional federal funding they'll get to provide health care to poorer residents, the law still will strain their already tight budgets." States' most pressing decision is about participating in temporary high-risk pools (Groppe, 4/16).

Health News Florida: "Trying again to find a way to fight federal health-care reform, a House panel today approved a new bill declaring Florida's 'public policy' is that government should not force people to buy health insurance. The bill comes a week after the panel's chairman --- raising constitutional questions --- scuttled another House proposal that sought to exempt Floridians from a key part of the federal reform law. Under the new measure, the attorney general would have the power to carry out the public policy by arguing in court on behalf of individual Floridians whose 'constitutional rights may be subject to infringement by an act of Congress respecting health insurance coverage'" (Saunders, 4/15).

The Associated Press: "Justice Stephen Breyer predicted Thursday that the Supreme Court will one day pass judgment on this year's health care overhaul. Breyer told a congressional panel that the massive health care law, like most major federal legislation, is a good candidate for high court review." Various attorneys general are committed to challenging the new law in federal court based on the argument that mandating health insurance for all Americans is unconstitutional (Sherman, 4/15).

Kansas Health Institute: "Consumer advocates say they have a big task ahead as various parts of the new, federal health reform start to become effective in the coming weeks and months." The Kansas Health Consumer Coalition "on Thursday hosted a webinar to update consumers and others on the various elements of the health reform legislation. More than a dozen people from around the state participated, said Anna Lambertson, director of development and public outreach for the consumer organization" (Green, 4/15).

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