KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations.

States Ponder Impacts Of Health Bill

News outlets examine how lawmakers from different states voted and what states have to gain and loss from the national overhaul.

BusinessWeek/Bloomberg: "Health legislation passed yesterday by the U.S. House changes some rules immediately on insurance coverage while leaving much of the fight over how to remake the medical system to federal regulators, states and courts. ... [I]t will be up to U.S. regulators and state lawmakers to structure the marketplaces where health plans will compete, write the rules governing their profit and decide which medical benefits must be covered."

"Officials in Idaho and Virginia have promised lawsuits over the bills' mandate that all Americans get insured" (Nussbaum, 3/22).

The San Francisco Chronicle: "The stakes are high for Californians when it comes to the health care overhaul, mainly because the coverage problems in this vast state are so large. ... 'When this is fully implemented in 2014 or beyond, we will see some two-thirds or more (of the uninsured) getting coverage and, with that, better access to care and more affordable coverage,' said Marian Mulkey, senior program officer for the California HealthCare Foundation, an independent philanthropy group based in Oakland. But not everyone will benefit. Medicare beneficiaries who have certain types of policies may experience disruptions and high-income earners will pay more in taxes. And California will still be left with a large number of uninsured, including illegal immigrants, who either don't qualify for the reforms or are exempted from them" (Colliver, 3/22).

The Dallas Morning News: "The state with the most to gain from a health insurance overhaul was also the state with the most lawmakers who voted against the bill on Sunday. Twenty-one of 32 lawmakers from Texas, including 20 Republicans, voted against the measure. The opponents said the legislation was overwhelmingly unpopular in their districts, although it would offer insurance to more than half of Texas' 6 million uninsured. ... The vote took place on a day when protesters, a few waving Texas flags, gathered outside the Capitol and chanted 'Kill the Bill'" (Michaels, 3/22).

The Boston Globe: "Although Massachusetts already has the lowest rate of uninsured residents in the country because of its own health care coverage expansion, the measure voted upon by the House yesterday would have significant impacts on the state." That includes a $2 billion boost in Medicaid assistance over 10 years, a much lower tax penalty for individuals without insurance and some residents would get federal subsidies to buy insurance (3/22).

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