Monday, July 9, 2012

Health Insurance Exchanges Update: Monday, July 9, 2012

Arizona State Flag
Now that the law has been upheld, there are still some mixed feelings among politicians. Described in a write-up in the New York Times, state officials opposed to the law are turning their attention to the exchanges. Critics are trying to figure out if subsidies are still offered if a state fails to set up their own exchanges.

And now that there will be a vote on the bill in the House this coming Wednesday, critics of the bill are trying anything to strike down this law. 

In New York, Gov. Cuomo said that he is not open to revisiting health insurance exchanges according to the New York Daily News. The statement came after Republican State Senate Health Committee Chairman said that there may be legislative approval to set up the exchanges. This is relatively odd since the GOP decided not to pass a bill and when Cuomo decided to use his executive order, there
 were no objections.
In Arizona, the idea of health exchanges is still left for grabs according to the Arizona Capital Times. House Speaker Andy Tobin said that he would like to wait for the November election to set up the exchanges. But the Gov. Jan Brewer has decided to go the other way on this. Arizona has taken $30 million to startup the state run exchanges. Her administration had been setting up their own exchange for months but to try and persuade legislatures will be a difficult task for the governor. But by the looks of the work of the governor, she does not want the federal government to have their exchanges in Arizona.
In Texas, Governor and former Republican presidential hopeful Rick Perry made his stance crystal clear when he issued a statement to the U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary. Under the law, if a state refuses to set up the exchanges, they will instead have to use the plan the federal government has set up. As for the expansion of Medicaid, the Supreme Court found it unconstitutional for the government to withhold money if it is not used to expanding Medicaid. So according to the Houston Chronicle, Rick Perry like so many others have decided not to do anything regarding setting up exchanges or expanding Medicaid in his state. Perry believes that state exchanges nor Medicaid expansion will result in affordable care.

Oklahoma is doing the exact same thing when it comes to rejecting the exchanges, according to the NewsOK. Directly after the health care ruling, Rep. Michelle Bachman and Senator Jim DeMint sent a letter out to the National Governors Association telling them to not implement any of the provisions in the health care law. Sen. Tom Coburn of Muskogee in Oklahoma was one of the many state officials who signed the agreement. Reportedly, he told the co-chairman of the legislative committee back in 2011 to look into setting up an exchange program reminiscent of Utah’s. But Coburn had a change of heart and said that the state not starting up exchanges is not a cause for concerns. Governor Mary Fallin however, has not decided on what to do exactly with exchanges and Medicaid expansion. Though not a fan of the exchanges, she did at one point in time accept the money to start up an exchange program but nothing has been done since.

This November, the Health Insurance Exchange Congress will be held November 13-14, 2012 in Chicago, IL.  Here, state officials and health plans with the only opportunity to come together to discuss PPACA and strategize on how to make this a successful opportunity for all.  For more information on this year's agenda, download the program here.  As a reader of this blog, when you register to join us and mention code XP1710BLOG, you'll receive 15% off the standard rate!

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