KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

States Slow To Set Up Health Exchanges; Alabama Moves Forward On Reforms

Recent stories examine how states are responding to the federal health law and its implementation. Meanwhile, Politico looks at a Deep South state and the health moves there that are surprising some observers.

The Washington Post: States Slow To Adopt Health-Care Transition
As many legislatures around the country have finished their work for the year, fewer than one-fourth of states have taken concrete steps to create health insurance marketplaces, a central feature of the federal law to overhaul the U.S. health-care system. A total of 43 states, meanwhile, have made fresh cuts to Medicaid, even as lingering unemployment and diminishing access to private coverage continue to drive up the number of Americans turning to the public insurance program for the poor (Goldstein and Aizenman, 6/5).

Politico: Alabama Pushes Health Reforms
Alabama is a deep red, Deep South state with a health policy that is taking on a decidedly blue tinge these days. Last week alone, Republican Gov. Robert Bentley issued an executive order to move forward on an Alabama health insurance exchange and lashed out at the state's Republican-controlled Legislature for attempting to scale back his proposed $247 million increase in Medicaid funding by a mere $7 million (Kliff, 6/6).

Kaiser Health News: States Turn To Foundations To Help Pay Costs Of Health Overhaul
Kaiser Health News staff writer Christopher Weaver reports: "Short on cash and time, officials in California and at least a dozen other states have turned to philanthropies to help pay for the extra work required under the federal health law" (Weaver, 6/5).

Georgia Health News: Deal Appoints Panel To Decide On Exchanges
[Gov. Nathan] Deal signed an executive order Thursday creating the Georgia Health Insurance Exchange Advisory Committee. The panel will determine if Georgia should establish state-based health care exchanges under federal health care reform. ... Georgia's newly appointed exchange committee has many voices from many perspectives in the health system. It has a mix of politicians, government officials, insurance industry figures and business executives. It has a Tea Party representative and the leader of a consumer advocacy group that supports health care reform (Miller, 6/3). 

The Connecticut Mirror: Health Insurance Exchange Clears House, Heads For Malloy's Desk
State Representatives have voted to establish a quasi-public agency to launch and run a health insurance exchange that will play a key role in expanding coverage under the federal health reform law (6/4). 

The Missoulian: Health Care Reform Marches Forward In Montana
While the Legislature or Gov. Brian Schweitzer killed almost every bill at the 2011 session on health care reform, key federal initiatives are marching forward in Montana -- with or without state participation, officials say. State Auditor Monica Lindeen, whose office regulates insurance, says she expects the federal government to start building Montana's health insurance exchange, which is an Internet shopping center for health insurance policies, as required under federal law (Dennison, 6/4). 

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