States Begin To Apply Health Care Reform Law Amid Looming Deadlines
InÂ attempting to implement provisions of the new health reform law, states are hurrying to retroactively address some of the health law's already expired deadlines, which lawmakers were unable to change, Reuters reports.
Under budget reconciliation, through which part of the reform package was passed, lawmakers are prohibited from changing language in the legislation. As a result, the law includes deadlines thatÂ were written into a draft months before the law was enacted.
For example, the bill stipulated that a supplemental drug rebate would begin in January. Cindy Mann, director of the Center for Medicaid and State Operations, said federal officials will release guidance to states this week on implementing the rebate and instruct them to apply it retroactively.
Several states already have embraced upcoming deadlines. Last week, Connecticut asked the federal government for permission to enroll an additional 45,000 individualsÂ in its MedicaidÂ program under new eligibility criteria. In addition, the governors of Michigan and Washington state have appointed groups toÂ identify regulatory changes.
However, lawmakers in states where legislatures convene biennially are concerned that they will have to call special sessions to meet deadlines.
Mann said that Congress could address states' concerns by passing a bill to relax the deadlines.
States also will have more work to do in the coming years. By Jan. 1, 2014, states must:
- Establish state-run insurance exchanges;
- ExpandÂ Medicaid eligibility criteria ; and
- Pass rules for electronic transactions, as well as expanding pediatric health care access.
Mann said the federal government will heavily rely on states to implement the new reform law. "We're very clear that we have to pass the baton to states," she said (Lambert, Reuters, 4/12).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.