Repeal of Reform Law Could Hinder California’s Health Benefit Exchange
Republican-led efforts to dismantle the federal health reform law could hinder California's progress in rolling out a statewide health insurance exchange, KPCC's "KPCC News" reports (Felde, "KPCC News," KPCC, 1/18).
Challenges to the Reform Law
On Wednesday, the U.S. House of Representatives voted 245-189 to approve legislation that would repeal the reform law. However, the measure is not expected to advance because Democrats control the Senate and the White House.
Even if the repeal bill fails, Republicans could attempt to weaken the reform law by refusing to allocate funding for provisions that rely on federal appropriations.
Meanwhile, several states are participating in lawsuits challenging the reform law's individual mandate, which requires nearly all U.S. residents to obtain health insurance coverage or pay a fine (Zapler, San Jose Mercury News, 1/19).
Implications for California
If the reform law were repealed, California could continue moving forward in setting up a statewide health insurance exchange.
However, without certain provisions of the overhaul, the exchange might not operate as intended.
Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) said that if California required insurers to cover all residents with pre-existing conditions but did not require all residents to obtain coverage, insurance companies might need to raise premiums dramatically.
He also noted that eligible residents would not be able to obtain tax credits to help them purchase coverage without the overhaul ("KPCC News," KPCC, 1/18).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.