Last week, California became the first state to bring its state health exchange into law. Known as the California Health Benefit Exchange, the exchange is expected to be operational by 2014 and cover at least 3 million uninsured Californians. Success of the program depends upon the appointment of a powerful five-member health care oversight board. While signing the bills to create the exchange, Gov. Schwarzenegger stressed the critical role states play to implement the national health care law, noting that "for national reform to succeed, it will be up to the states to make it work."
Thursday, September 23, 2010 will mark the six-month anniversary of the signing of the federal health care reform bill, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. On this date, several key provisions of the health reform law will go into effect, including the coverage of pre-existing conditions for children, extending coverage for young adults, requiring free preventive care, the elimination of the cap on lifetime benefits, and more.
While the right wing continues their rhetoric to repeal, many of the same states calling loudly in both legislatures and courts for the law's rejection are simultaneously preparing to implement it and benefiting from the opportunities the health care overhaul provides them. In fact, a Department of Health and Human Services release revealed that, of the 20 states who have joined the constitutionally dubious multi-state lawsuit seeking to overturn the health care law, eight of them - Arizona, Idaho, Indiana, Louisiana, Michigan, Nebraska, Nevada, and Washington - were claiming subsidies for retired state government employees provided by the very law their states are arguing should be thrown out by the courts.
Health care nullification forces scored a symbolic victory in Missouri Tuesday as voters supported a ballot initiative to block the individual mandate portion of the federal health care law. But it was a primary electorate dominated by GOP primary voters -- and the real story is how isolated this victory has been for the repeal forces. 26 states and counting have rejected health care nullification, while even the most right-wing state governments are moving forward on implementing the new law for the benefit of their citizens, as documented at ALECFail.com.
A group of state legislators
announced their intent to file an Amicus Brief in support of the federal
government in the lawsuit being brought by Virginia's Attorney General
to nullify the new health care law.
New federal regulations were issued that will guarantee affordable preventive care services for millions of Americans. The new interim final regulations
specify that new health insurance policies beginning on or after
September 23, 2010, must include preventive services recommended by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, as well as preventive services recommended by the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices
in their coverage plans. In addition, health plans will be prohibited
from charging co-payments, co-insurance or deductibles for these
services when they are delivered by network providers.
California lawmakers worked feverishly at the end of June to move
forward significant health reform legislation, including implementing
new Medicaid rules for the next five years, setting a framework for
establishing health insurance exchanges, and moving the state towards a
single-payer health care system.
Marking the 90 day anniversary of the signing of the Affordable Care Act, President Obama used the occasion to announce the implementation of a Patient’s Bill of Rights. After meeting privately with health insurance CEOs and state insurance commissioners, the White House sent a signal to insurers and to the public that the President intends to monitor how the insurance industry responds to the law’s implementation. In warning industry executives to refrain from using the law as an opportunity to boost unjustifiable rate increases, the Administration unveiled new regulations that will govern how new consumer protection provisions are implemented.