18 States Plan To Operate Their Own Health Exchanges

This total was announced in a Monday blog post by Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. Meanwhile, Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell announced Monday that his state will bow out of the another key aspect of the health law: Medicaid expansion.

Reuters: Health Insurance Exchanges Planned By 18 U.S. States: Sebelius
The deadline for states to inform the federal government if they would operate healthcare exchanges under President Barack Obama's healthcare reform law was December 14. The number of states participating was in line with expectations and leaves the government to create online marketplaces for the rest of the country. The exchanges are one of the key aspects of the U.S. Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (Humerm, 12/17).

Modern Healthcare: 10 More State Exchange Plans Submitted
States have until mid-February to indicate if they want to operate an exchange in partnership with the federal government. HHS received blueprint applications from California, Hawaii, Idaho, Minnesota, Mississippi, Nevada, New Mexico, Rhode Island, Vermont and Utah by last Friday's midnight deadline. Last week, HHS announced that it had granted eight states—Colorado, Connecticut, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Maryland, New York Oregon and Washington—as well as Washington, D.C., conditional approval of the plans those states had submitted to run their exchanges (Zigmond, 12/17).

Politico Pro: Virginia Governor Says No Medicaid Expansion
Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell bowed out of the Affordable Care Act’s Medicaid expansion Monday, warning of the program’s skyrocketing costs and other state investments needed to comply with the health law. “Medicaid is the second largest program in our general fund budget. It has grown exponentially at nearly 1,600 percent over the past 30 years to now consume nearly 21 percent of the state budget" (Cheney, 12/17).

CNN Money (Video): How Your Health Care Will Change In 2013
The piece by piece implementation of the Affordable Care Act of 2010 is bringing a few more changes to your health care in 2013 [includes details of flexible spending account changes and requirements about details of your health plan]  (Gengler, 12/17).

Also in the news, a report by the Government Accountability Office concludes that the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services Innovation Center needs to do better in one area --

Politico Pro: GAO: Innovation Center Not Avoiding Overlap
The top auditor for Congress says the new Innovation Center needs to work harder at making sure it’s not duplicating efforts with the rest of CMS. Innovation Center officials have tried to coordinate with CMS as both offices experiment with better, more efficient ways of paying providers — but they need to step up their endeavors, the Government Accountability Office said. “Our review … suggests that while the Innovation Center has taken steps to coordinate with other offices, it still has work to do in making this coordination more systematic,” GAO wrote in a report that’s expected to be made public Monday (Cunningham, 12/17).

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