What We're Reading - July 13
Good morning, and good luck on this Friday the 13th! While many states are putting up a fight and refusing to implement key elements of Obamacare, there’s good news coming out of Missouri! Meanwhile, Planned Parenthood Action Fund President Cecile Richards is named one of the top 25 most influential women in Washington, DC.
Here’s what we’re reading this morning…
Good news in Missouri! A birth control refusal law is vetoed. “Mo. governor vetoes bill on contraception coverage” — “JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon vetoed legislation Thursday that would have banned mandatory insurance coverage of birth control for anyone with religious or moral objections, asserting the bill could have also allowed insurers to deny contraception to women who want it. Nixon's veto came after two months of intense public lobbying during which his office received more than 10,000 messages urging him to either sign or veto the legislation that sought to inject Missouri into a national debate about birth control. The bill passed by the Republican-led Legislature was intended as a rebuff of a policy by Democratic President Barack Obama's administration that requires insurers to cover birth control at no additional cost to women, including those working at religiously affiliated nonprofits such as hospitals, colleges or charities. But Nixon, a Democrat, said the legislation was unnecessary and could perhaps even diminish people's liberties.”
A bad deal for residents — what happens if your state governor chooses not to expand Medicaid? “Lines Are Drawn Over Opting Out of Medicaid Plan” — “MIAMI — In the weeks since the Supreme Court ruled that states could opt out of a plan to vastly expand Medicaid under President Obama’s health care law, several Republican governors have vowed to do just that, attacking the expansion as a budget-busting federal power grab. But it may not be so easy. A battle is brewing here in Florida, where Gov. Rick Scott took to national television soon after the ruling to announce that he would reject the expansion. Advocates for the poor and some players in the health care industry — especially hospitals, a powerful political lobby — intend to push back. Hospital associations around the country have already signed off on cuts to reimbursement rates under the health care law on the assumption that the new paying customers they would gain, partly through the Medicaid expansion, would more than cover their losses. ‘If we’re going to walk away from that coverage, we’ll simply see those dollars we contributed through cuts in hospital payments go to covering people in other states,’ said Bruce Rueben, president of the Florida Hospital Association. ‘It’s a bad deal for people in Florida if it plays out that way.’”
USA Today interviews governors and top health officials regarding the plans for implementation of Obamacare in their home states. ”How each state will approach health care act” — “States are sharply divided on how — or whether — to implement the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act after it was upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court. The health care law was enacted in March 2010, but its two major expansions of health coverage don't begin until January 2014. One is the creation of health care exchanges — government agencies or non-profit groups that will organize and oversee a private market for buying health insurance. The exchanges will offer a choice of certified health plans from which individuals and small businesses can choose. States are expected to establish exchanges or create partnerships with the federal government. If states don't act, a federal exchange is supposed to serve those residents. In addition, the law calls for a vast expansion of Medicaid, the federal-state health insurance program for the poor and people with disabilities. For the first time in most states, adults earning up to 138% of the federal poverty rate, or $31,809 for a family of four, would be covered. As passed and signed by President Obama, the law threatened states with the loss of all federal Medicaid funds if they did not expand their programs. The Supreme Court struck down that provision, freeing states to sidestep the expansion without losing other funds.”