On Health Reform Law’s Anniversary: Pros, Cons, Waivers And State Action
News organizations are noting the one-year anniversary of the health law, and covering developments in the states.
The Hill: One Year Later: Backers Of Obama Healthcare Law Preparing To Defend
On the political front, House Republicans have already voted to repeal the law while the GOP promises to do likewise in the Senate if it wins a majority in next year's elections. With that in mind, lawmakers and advocates are looking for any edge they can exploit to shore up support for the law. A dozen advocacy groups are coordinating almost 200 events in 35 states next week, with a different theme for each day of the week (Pecquet, 3/19).
The Orange County Register: A Year Later, Who Benefits From Health Reform?
Although the law also helps Orange County's seniors and the poor, children and young adults have been the prime beneficiaries of the early components. Beginning Sept. 23, insurers could no longer deny coverage to children under 19 because of a pre-existing health condition (adults must wait until 2014 for such protection). At the same time, parents could use their employer-based or other group insurance plans to cover their children up to age 26. ... Another important provision of the law banned lifetime limits on benefits. Plans also must begin phasing out annual limits (Hall, 3/19).
The Orange County Register: Year 1 Of Health Reform: Beauty And The Beast
The law is to be phased in over the next few years, but its future is far from certain. ... Obama has said he'd be willing to work with critics to improve the health care bill, although he wasn't going to re-fight battles of the past. He has talked with governors about ways to reduce state costs associated with the law, including accelerating the timetable for allowing states the option of providing the reforms themselves. Obama has also launched an initiative to reform medical malpractice laws, which have long been a concern of Republicans (Wisckol, 3/18).
The Washington Post: Wisconsin's Health-Care Fight Illustrates Challenges As States Change Leadership
Two weeks after President Obama signed the nation's health-care overhaul into law, then-Wisconsin Gov. Jim Doyle (D) issued an executive order creating an Office of Health Care Reform. ... Then, in late January, Doyle's Republican successor, Scott Walker, issued his own executive order, dissolving the health reform office ... Wisconsin's U-turn, as sharp as anywhere in the country, illustrates how the views of state leaders are shaping the way the health-care overhaul envisioned by Congress will work on the ground. It illustrates, too, the treacherous terrain the Obama administration and congressional Democrats are walking by entrusting states to carry out major parts of the plan (Goldstein, 3/18).
The New York Times: Health Law Waivers Draw Kudos, and Criticism
Obama administration officials say they were expecting praise from critics of the new health care law when they offered to exempt selected employers and labor unions from a requirement to provide at least $750,000 in coverage to each person in their health insurance plans this year. Instead, Republicans have seized on the waivers as just more evidence that the law is fundamentally flawed because, they say, it requires so many exceptions. To date, for example, the administration has relaxed the $750,000 standard for more than 1,000 health plans covering 2.6 million people (Pear, 3/19).
The Wall Street Journal: State Wrestles With Health Coverage
A Washington state committee wrestling with how much health care the state can afford is generating controversy over its decisions to restrict coverage for some care. The committee of 11 physicians is part of the state's Health Technology Assessment program, which makes decisions affecting health coverage for about 750,000 state residents including state employees, Medicaid recipients and prisoners. ... Washington is one of few states that factors cost into its health-coverage decisions, in addition to effectiveness and safety. Critics say that amounts to rationing because it can limit access for patients who need services but can't afford them. (Wang, 3/19).
(Scranton) Times-Tribune: Health Care Reform Turns One, Though Future Is Uncertain
Amid legal challenges, repeal attempts and controversy, sweeping federal legislation passed one year ago this week has had a major impact on Northeast Pennsylvania, leading to innovations in treatment, greater access to health care and ratcheting up the pressure on area hospitals already struggling to stay solvent (Nissley, 3/20).
The Associated Press/St. Louis Post Dispatch: Mo. Conservatives Back Health Insurance Exchanges
Nearly one year after a federal law overhauling the nation's health care system was enacted, Missouri lawmakers have taken a small step toward implementing some of its provisions by creating a health insurance exchange. The exchange would allow individuals and small business to compare and buy health insurance plans. ... A state House insurance committee backed legislation this past week to create such an insurance exchange in Missouri. The legislation is drawing support even from some conservatives, who just seven months ago backed a ballot measure asserting that Missourians cannot be compelled to have health insurance - essentially rejecting a key mandate of the new federal health care law (3/19).