State-Level Action, Reactions Coincide With Health Law Anniversary

Party politics appear to be a key determinant in how states and state-level officials are reacting to the measure's implementation.

Times-Picayune: Louisiana to Opt Out Of Health Insurance Exchanges In Federal Law
Louisiana will opt out of creating state-level insurance exchanges as part of the new federal health care law, Health and Hospitals Secretary Bruce Greenstein said Wednesday. Greenstein said Louisiana will return a $1 million federal grant it received to help set up the exchanges, which are designed to create a regulated marketplace where individuals and small businesses can buy subsidized private coverage. Louisiana's decision means the federal government will administer an exchange when the law takes full effect in January 2014 (Moller, 3/23).

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution: Deal: New Health Care Law Costing State, Employees Millions
Marking the first anniversary of the new federal health care law's passage, Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal said it is already costing the state and its employees millions of dollars in higher premiums, with more cost increases coming (Williams, 3/23).

The Philadelphia Inquirer: Corbett Says Health Care Challenges Should Go Straight To Supreme Court
Gov. Corbett on Wednesday waded into the debate on the federal health care law, urging the Obama administration to petition to have challenges of that law sent straight to the U.S. Supreme Court, bypassing lower appellate courts because of the urgency of the issue (Fitzgerald, 3/24).

MinnPost: VP Biden Highlights Grateful Brooklyn Park Family, Celebrates Health Reform Law's First Year
Vice President Joe Biden on Wednesday held up a Brooklyn Park couple and their son William as examples of why the health reform law is working, while Republicans like Tim Pawlenty and John Kline amped up calls to repeal or defund the law. ... Certainly, parts of the initial implementation, such as ensuring that kids with pre-existing conditions must be covered, and allowing young adults up to age 26 to remain on parents' health insurance plans, seem to have gone without much of a hitch. However, the implementation has been marred by more than 1,000 waivers from the law. ... One of Michele Bachmann's best-received lines on the presidential trail is that she wants a waiver, too, and thinks everyone deserves a waiver (Wallbank, 3/23).

The Baltimore Sun: Health Care Reform Law Faces Continued Opposition
In the year since the federal health care reform law was passed, it has drawn a mixed reaction from Americans — including a court challenge from 20 states and efforts to cut funding by their representatives in Congress. But little of this seems to have spilled over to Maryland, where officials have embraced the act's provisions and moved aggressively to ensure that residents gain access to new benefits. They also have taken a leadership role in preparing for an influx of newly insured (Cohn, 3/23).

California Healthline: Dozens Of Bills Down, Dozens To Go
"Our findings are that, in just one year, hundreds of thousands of Californians are directly getting benefits under the new law," according to Anthony Wright, executive director of Health Access California, which issued a report yesterday summarizing the impact of the federal Affordable Care Act on California. Because California took a lead position in implementing health care reform, Wright said, the state has managed to corral federal cash in the form of grants and in the $10 billion Medicaid waiver, which is designed to act as a bridge to the 2014 reform measures and means a substantial sum of money for California now (Gorn, 3/23).

Politico: She's A Reform Leader—And A Republican
Like every other statewide elected official in Kansas, [Insurance Commissioner Sandy] Praeger is a Republican. But unlike every other statewide elected official in Kansas, she's working hard to make the state a leader in the implementation of the ACA. "[Health reform] has been my focus even when I was in the legislature," says Praeger who, alongside her Kansas position, chairs the Health Insurance and Managed Care Committee for the National Association of Insurance Commissioners. "I couldn't walk away right now. I really thought two terms would be a gracious plenty, but there was just too much to do" (Kliff, 3/23).

This is part of Kaiser Health News' Daily Report - a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. The full summary of the day's news can be found here and you can sign up for e-mail subscriptions to the Daily Report here. In addition, our staff of reporters and correspondents file original stories each day, which you can find on our home page.