States Take Different Actions In Plans For Implementing Health Overhaul Law
WPRI: Rhode Island Governor, Donald Carcieri, continues to ask Attorney General Patrick Lynch to file a lawsuit against the federal health reform law. "But Lynch says he will not do it. In a statement, Lynch says he believes quality health care is a right for all citizens. He also says the law does not infringe on the rights of states" (Gouthro, 5/10).
The San Francisco Chronicle: California state lawmakers are beginning the process of planning for health care reform implementation. "At a joint hearing of the state Senate and Assembly health committees, the head of the quasi-state agency that oversees Massachusetts' groundbreaking 2006 health law said California is wise to start working on some of the key provisions of the new law now. Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has stated publicly he intends to move full steam ahead in implementing the federal law. A number of states, primarily those governed by Republicans, are opposing the law or challenging certain provisions, particularly the requirement that most Americans buy health insurance" (Colliver, 5/13).
Meanwhile, the budget estimate in Indiana for how much the federal health reform law could cost the state is causing political ripples, according to the Associated Press. The chair of the State Budget Committee said the law could cost them up to $3.6 million in the next ten years. "Senate Appropriations Chairman Luke Kenley, R-Noblesville, said the costs to Indiana will be so great that the state should consider the drastic step of creating another option to Medicaid." Other lawmakers say the cost comes with a payoff. "State Sen. John Broden, D-South Bend, said he did not view 100 percent enrollment in expanded Medicaid coverage as bad, especially since the federal government will bear 90 percent to 95 percent of the cost for new enrollees" (Kusmer, 5/12).
The Journal Gazette reports that the cost estimate for Indiana also depends on some pretty large variables, such as how many people actually sign up for the expanded Medicaid program. "The largest part of the $3.6 billion increase about $1.3 billion comes because hundreds of thousands more Hoosiers will be able to enroll in Medicaid. An actuary called the projections a worst-case scenario for the state. It assumes that all people who would now be eligible for Medicaid would enroll even 248,000 Hoosiers who are currently insured." Another representative suggested getting a range of estimates for the cost depending on how many people enroll. "It does pose a fairly substantial increase in cost one way or another," Sen. Luke Kenley, R-Noblesville, said (Kelly, 5/13).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.