KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Survey: Few States Have Laws To Enforce Consumer Protections

A report by the Commonwealth Fund finds that 39 states do not have measures to allow officials to enforce some key insurance regulations from the federal health law.

Los Angeles Times: Most States Lack Healthcare Consumer Protection Laws
Nearly 4 out of 5 states have not enacted laws essential to enforcing new consumer protections in President Obama's healthcare law, less than a year before it is supposed to be fully implemented, a new survey indicates. Millions of Americans still stand to benefit in 2014 from protections in the Affordable Care Act, such as a new guarantee that consumers with preexisting medical conditions cannot be denied coverage (Levey, 1/31).

Reuters: Report Warns Of U.S. State Consumer Health Reforms
Only 11 of the 50 U.S. states have moved to implement new consumer safeguards under President Barack Obama's healthcare law, raising questions about how major health insurance reforms will be enforced, a report released on Friday says. The report by the nonpartisan Commonwealth Fund found 39 states have yet to pass laws or issue regulations on seven reforms, including coverage for people with preexisting medical conditions, a ban on coverage waiting periods and limits for out-of-pocket consumer costs (Morgan, 2/1).

Modern Healthcare: Many States Lack Authority On New Insurance Rules: Report
Nearly half of state insurance departments lack the power to fully enforce new insurance regulations that take effect next year under healthcare reform, raising the possibility of federal oversight of the rules when a state fails to do so, according to a newly released report. Twenty-two states surveyed by the Commonwealth Fund have limited or no authority to uphold the new regulations, including a popular provision that prohibits insurers from denying coverage to individuals with existing medical conditions. The report did not list the states and researchers declined to release a list, saying respondents were promised confidentiality (Evans, 2/1).

Kaiser Health News: State Action Needed To Guarantee Health Law Protections, Says Report
Lawmakers in most states better get busy if they want authority to enforce key provisions of the federal health law that go into effect next year. That's the takeaway message from a report by the Commonwealth Fund showing that only 11 states and the District of Columbia have passed rules needed to implement the law (Appleby, 2/1).

Meanwhile, KHN also looks at efforts by the federal government --

Kaiser Health News: Tick, Tock: Administration Misses Some Health Law Deadlines
The programs, slated to take effect Jan. 1, were supposed to increase fees to primary care doctors who treat Medicaid patients, give states more federal funding if they eliminate Medicaid co-pays for preventive services and experiment with changes to how doctors and hospitals are paid by Medicare. The administration also has delayed giving states guidance on a new coverage option known as the 'basic health program,' designed to help low and moderate-income people who don't qualify for Medicaid" (Galewitz, 1/31).

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