As legislative sessions wrap up around the country, so does the first full legislative opportunity for lawmakers to pass a state-based health exchange since the signing of the Affordable Care Act into law. Over the weekend, the state of Connecticut joined nine other states that have already passed legislation to enact state-based marketplaces to improve the health security of families, a key piece of the federal health law. Connecticut’s exchange legislation is an important step in the right direction, giving options to consumers and extending coverage to many who desperately need it, and it is further evidence of the momentum continuing to build behind implementation of the Affordable Care Act in the states.
This morning, Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin signed into law a groundbreaking health care bill that puts his state on a path towards universal coverage for all residents. The legislation, H.202, sets Vermont on course to become the first state in the nation to implement a single-payer system, and had previously passed both the House and Senate chambers by significant margins.
This past week, 154 legislators from 26 states joined together to send a message to the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals now considering a lawsuit against the Affordable Care Act: that the framers of the Constitution themselves would have supported the law, and that they will not sit idle while the health security of their constituents is endangered by continuing partisan political attacks against legislation from the right wing. The legislators’ amicus brief supports the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act, arguing that the district court ruling was “based on a fundamentally flawed vision of the constitutional role of our federal government and its partnership with the States – a vision that contradicts the original meaning of our Founding charter.”