KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

States Explore Strategies To Protect Exchanges, Subsidies From Court Decisions

News outlets report that states are working hard to demonstrate that they are now or will soon be operating their own online insurance marketplaces. Meanwhile, states are pushing for more time and support from the federal government for exchange planning and construction.  

The Wall Street Journal: States Try To Protect Health Exchanges From Court Ruling
A number of states are scrambling to show that they—not the federal government—are or will soon be operating their insurance exchanges under the 2010 health law, in light of two court decisions this week. The efforts are aimed at ensuring that millions of consumers who get insurance through the exchanges would be able to retain their federal tax credits if courts ultimately rule against the Obama administration (Radnofsky, 7/25).

Modern Healthcare: States Will Face Pressure To Keep Subsidies Jeopardized By Ruling
The ramifications of this week's federal appellate court ruling in Halbig v. Burwell—assuming the decision is upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court—could be immense. If individuals in states that haven't established their own exchanges can't access subsidies, more than 7 million people would lose access to $36 billion in healthcare subsidies, according to a study by the Urban Institute. That has the potential to fatally undermine the fledgling exchanges and the entire Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. (Demko, 7/25).

Politico: States Want More Time On ACA Funds
States running their own Obamacare exchanges were supposed to wean themselves off federal funding by the end of this year, but some of them want that Obama administration spigot open a bit longer. The states aren’t asking for the feds to dole out more money on top of the $4.6 billion already dedicated to exchange planning and construction. But they do want to be able to spend their federal exchange grants into 2015 as they grapple with core components of the insurance portals that are balky, unfinished or in disrepair (Cheney and Wheaton, 7/25).

And, from New Mexico -

The Associated Press: New Mexico to Continue With Federally Operated Health Insurance Exchange
New Mexico decided Friday to stick with a federal online system for another year to enroll individuals in health insurance plans. The state's health insurance exchange governing board voted 11-1 to continue using the federal computer system for determining eligibility and to enroll individuals starting in November when the next open enrollment begins (7/25).

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