KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Health Law Message Machine, Implementation Rolls On

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius was in Florida Tuesday pointing out the health law's accomplishments. Meanwhile, news outlets offer implementation reports from California and Arkansas.

The Miami-Herald: Obama's Health Secretary Touts Benefits For Women In Reform Law
Florida Gov. Rick Scott may have opted not to embrace President Obama's health care reform, but that doesn't mean state residents will be denied its benefits, U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius said Tuesday on a visit to Miami. If Scott declines to create the state insurance exchange required under the act to extend private coverage to the uninsured, the federal government will do so for Florida, said Sebelius, who has been the chief explainer and promoter of the president's signature initiative (Viglucci, 3/20).

California Watch: Health Reform Enters 2nd Year Amid Broad Changes, Challenges
As the second anniversary of the health care reform law approaches, California health advocates hailed the changes that have been made and those on the horizon. ... Changes include the creation of a health benefit "exchange" that will offer low-cost plans to millions who might be required to buy policies. ... The Medi-Cal program has shipped cards to millions in anticipation of a massive expansion in 2014 (Jewett, 3/21). 

Politico Pro: Ark. On Exchange Partnership: Good So Far
Arkansas, the first state to take up HHS's offer of a partnership in creating a health insurance exchange, says, so far, the federal government's hand isn't so heavy after all. Arkansas latched onto HHS for help after Democratic Gov. Mike Beebe concluded that he wasn't going to get an exchange bill past Republican lawmakers. But Insurance Commissioner Jay Bradford says it hasn't meant a loss of state control. Just the opposite, in fact. The state's been in frequent contact with HHS during the past four months, he said, but the feds have been more of a silent partner (Millman, 3/21).

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