In Calif. and Mass., reforms proceeding even as court causes uncertainty

Published on June 19, 2012 at 8:11 AM · No Comments

News reports offer updates on California's health exchange as well as the important signal sent by Massachusetts' major health insurers.

Kaiser Health News: California Bullish On Health Exchange -- No Matter What
Many states have done nothing to implement the health overhaul law, saying they'll wait and see how the Supreme Court rules. Not California. The country's most populous state got out in front first on implementing the law, and it hasn't slowed down in recent weeks as the rest of the country waits to hear from the High Court (Bartolone, 6/15). 

California Healthline: Study Estimates High Enrollment For Exchange
As many as 2.1 million Californians will get subsidized health insurance coverage through the state's new Health Benefit Exchange by 2019, according to a study released yesterday by the UC-Berkeley Labor Center and UCLA Center for Health Policy Research. Another 1.1 million from the unsubsidized individual health insurance market are expected to join the exchange as well, said UCLA researcher Dylan Roby. That would bring the estimated total to about 3.2 million. Yesterday's study concluded that the high enrollment rate is dependent, in part, on how effectively the exchange markets itself, Roby said (Gorn, 6/15).

San Jose Mercury: Medical Community Focused On Fate Of Health Reform
If the Supreme Court strikes down health care reform Monday, "there is no contingency plan," said the top U.S. Department of Health and Human Services administrator for California, as the San Bernardino County health care community awaits a decision on whether the law is constitutional. The Obama Administration has not spent "a minute of the day" thinking about what would happen if the U.S. Supreme Court strikes down healthcare reform when it issues a ruling, which is expected this month, said Herb K. Schultz, San Francisco-based HHS administrator for the states of California, Arizona, Nevada and Hawaii. As it stands, 4 million California residents will get health insurance when the act becomes fully operational in 2014, he said. But in many respects, that future has already arrived. "Health care reform is not the future," he said. "It is already here" (Steinberg, 6/17).

San Francisco Chronicle: State Uncertain As Top Court Steps In
When President Obama's health care overhaul became law two years ago, California lawmakers jumped into action. … The difference this year is that the fate of those state laws, and the impact they will have on Californians, hang under what state Sen. Ed Hernandez , D-West Covina (Los Angeles County), called a "cloud of uncertainty." Before the end of the month, the U.S. Supreme Court is expected to rule on the constitutionality of the federal health law, called the Affordable Care Act (Bazar, 6/17).

Boston Globe: Insurers To Stay With Key Benefits Of U.S. Health Law
The largest insurers in Massachusetts have pledged to extend two popular provisions of the Affordable Care Act even if the US Supreme Court decides to overturn the federal health law in a ruling expected before the end of the month. Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts, Harvard Pilgrim Health Care, and Tufts Health Plan said in statements to the Globe that they would continue to allow young adults to remain on their parents' insurance plans up to age 26. ... The insurers also said they would cover a broad array of preventive services with no copayments, as outlined by the federal law. Among them are certain immunizations and screening for diabetes, depression, and colorectal and breast cancer (Conaboy, 6/18).


http://www.kaiserhealthnews.orgThis article was reprinted from kaiserhealthnews.org with permission from the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. Kaiser Health News, an editorially independent news service, is a program of the Kaiser Family Foundation, a nonpartisan health care policy research organization unaffiliated with Kaiser Permanente.

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