November 15, 2012

GOP-led states soften on health law

Some are more open to the changes and to setting up exchanges, and others are awaiting more details.

The Associated Press

(Continued from page 1)

The biggest advantage may be that states would be more closely involved in coordinating between the exchanges and Medicaid programs. Because many people are going to be going back and forth between Medicaid and private coverage in the exchanges, states would probably be better served by a hands-on role.

States can also decide whether to allow open access to all insurers, or work only with a panel of pre-screened companies that meet certain requirements.

Also, the exchanges will offer coverage to people buying in the individual and small-business markets, areas that states have traditionally regulated. Without a state-run exchange, states could be dealing their own regulators out of the equation, as Mississippi's insurance commissioner Chaney noted.

Despite signs of movement toward going along with implementation of the overhaul, some major Republican-led states are holding fast. In Texas, the election results did not change any of the opposition to expanding Medicaid or to setting up insurance exchanges. The same holds for Louisiana, South Carolina, Missouri, Kansas and others.

"Adding more people to an already sinking ship with money that is either being borrowed from China or coming out of taxpayers' pockets is bad policy and bad for Texans," said Catherine Frazier, spokeswoman for Gov. Rick Perry. Twenty-seven percent of that state's residents are uninsured, the largest percentage for any state.

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