KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Some State Officials Grappling With Health Law’s Insurance Exchanges

State leaders in Mississippi, Idaho and Minnesota pore over their options on establishing the health law's health insurance exchanges -- or allowing the federal government to do it.

Bloomberg: Mississippi Fights Over Health Law As States Resist Key Element
In Mississippi, where one in five people lack health insurance, two Republican elected officials are fighting over the best way to resist President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul. Insurance Commissioner Mike Chaney, 68, is proceeding with a key requirement -- creating health-care exchanges to help people without employer-provided coverage get policies -- saying he wants the least burdensome requirements. Governor Phil Bryant, 57, asked him to stop late last month, saying the state shouldn't advance any part of the Obama-backed law (Newkirk, 10/9).

The Associated Press/Houston Chronicle: Expert: Idaho Has No Time For State Exchange
Idaho has run out of time to establish a state-run insurance exchange that's required by President Barack Obama's health care overhaul, meaning working with the federal government on an alternative is virtually unavoidable. That's according to a consultant advising a 13-member panel organized by Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter to gather information on what Idaho should do. At this point, it's too complicated and risky to launch a state-run exchange, like neighboring states Washington and Oregon plan, said Robert Mitchell, a Denver-based consultant with KPMG LLC hired to help the state make its choice (Miller, 10/9).

Kaiser Health News: In New Health Exchange, Human Element Of Customer Service Is Up For Debate
Congress envisioned exchanges as one-stop shopping for people who need coverage either from a government program like Medicaid or from a commercial health plan. But there's a general concern that for a lot of people, the new marketplaces will be daunting no matter how well the exchange software is designed. "Not everybody is going to be able to independently hop on an online program," said Joan Cleary, who heads the Minnesota Community Health Worker Alliance (Stawicki, 10/9).

States are also considering Medicaid expansion and kids' care decisions provisioned in the health law --

The Associated Press/Las Vegas Review-Journal: No Medicaid Decision Until After Elections
[Nevada] Gov. Brian Sandoval said Tuesday he won't decide whether expanding Medicaid eligibility as called for under the federal health care reform law will be part of his budget proposal until after the elections and state revenue projections are made later this year. Speaking to reporters Tuesday, the Republican governor said his administration is still awaiting guidance from the federal government on aspects of the law (Chereb, 10/10).

California Healthline: Study: Pediatric Vision, Dental ACA Coverage In Limbo
California has yet to resolve several key questions about how insurers will provide pediatric dental and vision benefits under the federal Affordable Care Act, according to a new study from the California Health Benefits Review Program. Recent state legislation helps define essential health benefits for children's dental and vision care, "but does not clarify which ages are 'pediatric,' and thus eligible to use these benefits," according to the study (Hart, 10/10).

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