What 2012 Holds For State Reform Efforts, Health Law Implementation

Vermont, Oregon and Georgia are considering what the new year will bring for their efforts to implement health reforms, including formation of insurance exchanges. In California, the state's pool of money for the pre-existing health condition plan is getting a new infusion of funds.

Burlington Free Press/Stateline: 2012 Will Be Year Of Nitty-Gritty Health Reform In Vermont
The administration has 12 more months to come up with the financing plan for Green Mountain Care that it will present to the Legislature in January 2013. That's too long for critics. Vermonters for Health Care Freedom, which opposes the path Gov. Peter Shumlin and the Legislature have chosen to follow, has been trying to build grassroots support with an online petition that calls on the administration to release the financing plan next September. Earlier release could turn the November election into a referendum on health care reform (Remsen, 12/19).

(Salem, Ore.) Statesman-Journal/Stateline: Upcoming Health-Care Issues To Be Previewed
Lawmakers will get a preview this week of two big health-care issues that affect nearly 1 million Oregonians. One issue is how a nine-member board will operate the public corporation overseeing Oregon's new health insurance exchange. The electronic marketplace will enable individuals and small businesses to shop for health insurance coverage that meets standards set by the board. Up to 350,000 people who do not have coverage will be affected. The other issue is how the Oregon Health Policy Board, and four task forces involving more than 100 people, propose to reshape the delivery of state-supported health care for low-income people (Wong, 12/18).

Meanwhile, states also continue to wrestle with implementation of the health law –

Georgia Health News: Insurance Exchange Backed For Small Firms
A state advisory committee ... has recommended that Georgia create an insurance exchange for small businesses, run by either a private or quasi-governmental entity. But the panel stopped short of backing a similar marketplace for individual coverage, which is called for under the 2010 federal health reform law. The committee made it clear that it supports an exchange independent of what the reform law requires. The report also cited the uncertainty surrounding the legislation's ultimate fate in the Supreme Court (Miller, 12/19).

The Sacramento Bee: California's Pre-Existing Health Condition Plan Getting New Funds
California will receive $118 million in federal funds to bolster its 2012 coverage of adults with pre-existing medical conditions. The state-run, federally funded Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plan, or PCIP, was created last year to insure the uninsurable – those who because of their medical conditions have been denied coverage by insurers or who have had to pay prohibitive insurance premiums to ensure they were covered. The plan acts as a bridge to 2014, when the federal health care overhaul will begin barring carriers from declining or tacking higher rates onto coverage for pre-existing conditions (Smith, 12/20).

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