KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

States Pursue Different Paths To Health Exchanges

With Friday's deadline now passed, it is clear the federal government will run the insurance marketplaces created by the health law in about half the states. Only a handful of the states opted to partner with the feds.

The Associated Press/Washington Post: States Or Feds: Who Will Do A Better Job Covering Uninsured Americans Under Obama's Health Law?
President Barack Obama's health care overhaul is unfolding as a national experiment with American consumers as the guinea pigs: Who will do a better job getting uninsured people covered, the states or the feds? The nation is about evenly split between states that decided by Friday's deadline they want a say in running new insurance markets and states that are defaulting to federal control because they don’t want to participate in "Obamacare." That choice was left to state governments under the law: Establish the market or Washington will (2/16).

Kaiser Health News: Federal Government To Run Insurance Marketplaces In Half The States
It's official. The Obama administration will be running new health insurance marketplaces in half the states— including the major population centers of Texas, Florida and Pennsylvania. The federal government had hoped more states this week would agree to form a partnership exchange—the deadline to apply was Friday—but the offer was largely rebuffed. New Jersey, Ohio and Florida, several of the biggest states that had not declared their intentions, officially said no late in the week (Galewitz and Tran, updated 2/16).

Politico: Health Care Exchanges And The Two Americas
In the Obamacare era, there are two Americas. Half the states have refused to set up the health insurance exchanges, ignoring a Friday deadline for states to take on core requirements of the law. They’ll hand over the keys to the Obama administration, which will play an outsize and risky role in driving critical health insurance decisions that are typically the province of state governments (Cheney and Millman, 2/15).

Here's some state-specific coverage on health exchange news --

MPR News: Minnesota Health Exchange On Deadline, Moving Swiftly
Legislation that would create a new online marketplace for Minnesotans to buy health insurance will be making its last state Senate committee stop this week. More than a million residents are expected to use the so-called insurance exchange as a Web-based gateway to comparison shop for coverage and enroll in government plans. But in order for the exchange to open for business in October as required, state lawmakers must pass a bill by the third week in March. The complex and controversial legislation to create a Minnesota exchange is moving through committees with remarkable speed (Stawicki, 2/18).

Bloomberg: N.J. To Join Federal Health-Care Exchange, Christie Says
Governor Chris Christie said he gave formal notice to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services that New Jersey will join a federally administered exchange in 2014. Today was the deadline for states to join the federal system, declare a state-federal partnership or create their own (Young, 2/15).

The Associated Press: Maine Gets Pieces In Place For Health Care Law
Though Maine has not embraced all of the components of the federal health care overhaul, the state is still ahead of most others preparing for changes coming next year, an analysis shows. Maine is one of 11 states, including New Hampshire and Vermont, to approve at least some of the Affordable Care Act's so-called market reforms, according to the Commonwealth Fund, a private group that promotes improved health care (Adams, 2/17).

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