Health Law Preparations Go Full Throttle

Topics: Health Reform, Delivery of Care, States, Insurance, Politics

Nov 08, 2012

The re-election of President Barack Obama all but ensured the survival of the law, news outlets report. Now, a slew of regulations must be issued and political and financial and organizational obstacles overcome.

Reuters: Obama Wins Clear Health Law Hurdle, Challenges Remain
The 2010 Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, the biggest overhaul of the $2.8 trillion U.S. healthcare system since the 1960s, aims to extend health coverage to more than 30 million uninsured Americans beginning in January 2014 (Morgan and Yukhananov, 11/7).

NPR: Obamacare Is Here To Stay – But In What Form?
President Obama’s re-election and the retention of a Democratic majority in the Senate means the likelihood of a repeal of the Affordable Care Act has receded. So what now? “The law is here and we should at this point expect it to still be here Jan. 1, 2014,” says Alan Weil, executive director of the nonpartisan National Academy for State Health Policy. Jan. 1, 2014, is the date the major parts of the law, like the new insurance policies available to individuals and small businesses, are supposed to become available (Rovner, 11/8).

Los Angeles Times: Obama’s Win Means His Healthcare Law Will Insure All Americans
Tuesday’s results also present Obama with a new set of challenges as he tries to fulfill the promise of his signature legislative achievement, the biggest expansion of the social safety net since Medicare and Medicaid were created in 1965. Federal and state officials nationwide must create systems to handle millions of new insurance customers. … And Obama will face renewed pressure to scale back the law as Congress tries to rein in federal budget deficits (Levey, 11/8).

The Washington Post: Obama’s Health-Care Law Still Faces Challenges After President’s Reelection
Among the tasks Obama officials still face: protecting the law from budget cuts Republicans are sure to demand during upcoming negotiations, wrangling wary governors into going along with the law’s expansion of Medicaid, and ensuring that the private insurance markets, or “exchanges,” at the heart of the law can be rolled out by the law’s 2014 deadline (Aizenman, 11/7).

Politico: Obamacare Survives — Now What?
Now it has to work. If it does, more Americans might come to accept it — and even be glad it passed. If it doesn’t, Obama’s legacy will be tarnished. And Republicans will say “we told you so” for years to come. Either way, Americans will now see what the law — the Affordable Care Act — is supposed to look like. The big pieces, including coverage of pre-existing conditions and the hated individual mandate, won’t kick in until 2014. Until now, all Americans have seen are the warm-up acts — like letting young adults stay on their parents’ plans — that aren’t really central to the law (Nather, 11/7).

The Wall Street Journal: Election Removes Cloud From Health Law’s Future
Also expected are rules spelling out the terms on which insurers must accept all customers regardless of their medical history, rules governing how insurers can vary premiums based on age and more information about new requirements on employers and individuals to buy insurance. … Other industries in the health sector, including insurers, brokers, and medical-device-makers, were poised to lobby aggressively on regulations as they come out, and to redouble efforts to persuade Congress to amend particular aspects of the law in their favor (Radnofsky and Mathews, 11/7).

The Associated Press: Obama’s Health Care Overhaul Turns Into A Sprint
A steadying force within the administration is likely to be HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. The former Kansas governor has said she wants to stay in her job until the law is fully enacted. “I can’t imagine walking out the door in the middle of that,” she told The Kansas City Star during the Democratic convention. Her office declined to comment Wednesday. Republicans will be leading more than half the states, so governors are going to be her main counterparts (Alonso-Zaldivar, 11/8).

National Journal: Major Regulations For Health Reform Coming Soon
While Congress wrangles over the fiscal cliff and scrambles to find money for the perennial “doc fix” payment formula problem, the professional staff at the Health and Human Services and Treasury departments are also expected to have a full plate, with legislative deadlines for implementing health reform looming and many of the political considerations that slowed regulatory release before the election now off the table. … “I think it’s realistic to see a big bunch of regulations to be rolled out in the weeks following the election,” said Christine Pollack, a vice president for government relations at the Retail Industry Leaders Association, a trade group for big-box stores (Sanger-Katz, 11/7).

English: Barack Obama signing the Patient Prot...

English: Barack Obama signing the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act at the White House Español: Barack Obama firmando la Ley de Protección al Paciente y Cuidado de Salud Asequible en la Casa Blanca (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This is part of Kaiser Health News‘ Daily Report – a summary of health policy coverage from more than 300 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.


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