Bloggers are tracking state reaction to the new health law.
Time’s Karen Tumulty looks at what Democratic members of Congress are hearing this week as they tour their home states. Tumulty reviews comments from Rep. Chris Van Hollen (Md.) and notes, “Now that the health bill is a reality, people are–properly and wisely–less interested in the political arguments, and have turned their attention to figuring out how it affects their lives.”
Suzy Khimm, guest-posting on Ezra Klein’s blog, looks at a Wall Street Journal report on whether states will cooperate and set set up new high risk pools created in the health law by the six-month deadline. She writes, “Either way, it will be worth watching what does and doesn’t happen by July 1 and how HHS ends up dealing with the problems that could crop up — particularly as these high-risk pools will be building blocks for the full insurance exchanges in each state.”
One state appears to have internal conflict: Hot Air’s Ed Morrissey notes that Minnesota Attorney General Lori Swanson plans to filing a “friend of the court” brief in defense of the new health overhaul law, in conflict with the state’s Republican Gov. Tim Pawlenty. Morrissey points out that “Swanson has to stand for re-election in November after a single term in office. Pawlenty won’t let this drop in the meantime, which will mean that Swanson may largely have to campaign on her choice to enable federal encroachment and the imposition of the IRS as the enforcer of a health-insurance mandate on taxpayers. Even in a state as liberal as Minnesota, that’s going to be a tough sale.”
Heritage’s Thomas Perrin provides an update on Florida’s efforts to reform its Medicaid program: “This new waiver, if accepted by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), would essentially grant the state of Florida the ability to cap its Medicaid spending to the amount allotted by the state budget. The legislature would then be allowed to adjust optional eligibility groups and services depending on the amount appropriated. The waiver would also allow Florida to set up a voucher system where beneficiaries could purchase insurance products from private companies
The New Republic’s Jonathan Cohn, back from vacation, registers his support for the rumored nomination of Don Berwick to head up the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, but says “I still think, as I wrote recently, that the administration needs one point person to coordinate the activity of all the different agencies working on health care. And I wonder if it should be somebody not just outside of CMS but outside of the Department of Health and Human Services, as well. (CMS is part of HHS.) But that’s a more complicated question for another time…”.”
Austin Frakt of The Incidental Economist wonders if data on the effects of the new law could be scarce. He looks to the experience of Massachussetts, saying,”The reason we do not know how much gaming of the Massachusetts mandate occurs or the implications of it for premiums is that the relevant data aren’t available to researchers…. There is a consequence to proprietary barriers to data access. We don’t learn as much and, thus, we don’t know as well what works or doesn’t. What we end up knowing is driven to a larger extent by industry statements and reports than it is by less biased scholarly analysis. This is a real loss and has implications for policy and government budgets.”
And Health Beat’s Maggie Mahar began a series on “myths & facts about healthcare reform,” starting with whether the law is a “boon for private insurers” (Mahar thinks for-profit health insurance may not continue to “be a viable business”) and whether health insurance companies will see their profits soar (probably not).