Health Care Reform Implementation Update March 14, 2012

In the past week, HHS released the final rule for health insurance exchanges; the White House coordinated events to be held outside the Supreme Court during the March 26-28th arguments; and New York State warned health insurers that they would lose state contracts if women on Medicaid were denied their choice of higher-cost, brand-name contraceptives.

IN THE COURTS

On Wednesday (3/7), White House officials summoned leaders of nonprofit organizations that strongly back the Affordable Care Act to help coordinate plans for a prayer vigil, press conferences and other events outside the Supreme Court during the arguments, which begin in two weeks.

AT THE AGENCIES

On Monday, HHS released the final rule for health insurance exchanges. The long-awaited regulation stresses state and federal flexibility. The regulation lays out state functions: certifying "qualified health plans"; operating a website for comparing plans; running a toll-free hot line for consumer support; providing grants to "Navigators" for consumer assistance; determining eligibility of consumers for enrollment in qualified health plans; and helping with enrollment.

On Friday (3/9), Farzad Mostashari, the national coordinator for health information technology at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, said the government is proposing that medical providers have the capability to exchange patient data by 2014.

IN THE STATES

A report released on Monday (3/5) by nine state attorneys general says the Obama administration has broken the law and overstepped constitutional bounds 21 times.

On Tuesday (3/6), in a speech to the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce, Massachusetts House Speaker Robert DeLeo offered business leaders a preview of state legislation aimed at reining in health care costs. Rep. DeLeo predicted the House proposal would make "aggressive" changes in disclosure requirements for the industry, give consumers and businesses more ability to make informed health care choices, and encourage employers to offer health and fitness incentives for workers.

On Thursday (3/8), Texas Gov. Rick Perry directed state officials to begin looking for money to fund the Medicaid Women’s Health Program in case the Obama administration revokes federal funding amid a fight over clinics affiliated with abortion providers.

According to a new report and accompanying white paper from the National Governors Association, Top IT Actions to Save States Money and Boost Efficiency, states could make better use of information technology to be more efficient and improve services.

On Monday (3/5), New York State warned health insurers that they would lose state contracts if women on Medicaid were denied their choice of higher-cost, brand name contraceptives unless cheaper, generic methods “fail first.”

THIRD PARTIES

A new study published Monday (3/5) in Health Affairs challenges the premise that electronic health records will reduce costs.

To view our compilation of recent health care reform implementation news, click here.

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Posted in Articles, Health Care Reform Implementation Updates, Washington, D.C.

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