2013 brings health law deadlines, challenges to states

News coverage of how states are planning for the health law include details of state health insurance exchanges.

Marketplace: Awaiting Approval For State Health Insurance Exchanges
Today is the day the Secretary of Health and Human Services tells states whether their plans for health insurance exchanges pass muster. These are the new insurance marketplaces provided for under Obamacare. 24 states and the District of Columbia have applied to set up exchanges. Consumers in the rest of the states can use a single, federally-maintained exchange to help find coverage when the insurance mandate goes into effect a year from today (Horwich, 1/1).

Kaiser Health News: Feds Approve Minn. Exchange, Insurers Scramble To Develop Health Plans
The federal government's conditional approval Thursday [Dec. 20] for Minnesota to operate a health insurance exchange means the state has cleared a key hurdle to develop a system designed to reshape the insurance market under the health law (Stawicki, 12/21).

Los Angeles Times: Affordable Care Act Presents Many Unknowns For California Officials
As California positions itself at the vanguard of the national healthcare overhaul, state officials are unable to say for sure how much their implementation of the federal Affordable Care Act will cost taxpayers. The program, intended to insure millions of Americans who are now without health coverage, takes states into uncharted territory. ... The [Gov. Jerry] Brown administration will try to estimate the cost of vastly more health coverage in the budget plan it unveils next month, but experts warn that its numbers could be way off (York, 12/25).

San Francisco Chronicle: Primary Care Doctors Growing Scarce
Roughly 4 million additional Californians are expected to obtain health insurance by 2014 through the federal health law, an expansion that will likely exacerbate the state's doctor shortage and could even squeeze primary care access in the Bay Area, experts say. ... The need for more primary care doctors is addressed in the federal health law through various financial incentives, and California's medical schools and hospitals are putting a greater emphasis on primary care training and expanding residency programs. But the effects of such efforts may not be felt for years (Joseph, 1/1).

St. Louis Beacon: General Assembly Returns With New Leadership And Full Agenda
When the Missouri General Assembly kicks off Jan. 9, much will be the same. Republicans will once again be the arbiters on what passes and what fails in both chambers. And Gov. Jay Nixon, a Democrat, will still serve as a check of sorts against elements of the GOP agenda he finds objectionable. But there are also significant differences that may have a big impact on the session. ... One issue on which Senate Democrats could make a mark is the effort to expand Medicaid up to 138 percent of the federal poverty level. The expansion is a key aspect of the Affordable Care Act, also known as "Obamacare" (Rosenbaum, 1/2).

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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