States’ GOP Lawmakers Balance Health Reform Rollout, Opposition
All states have enacted at least some provisions from the federal health reform law and have received federal funding through the law, even as Republican lawmakers at the state and federal levels try to repeal it, Politico reports.
Governors who campaigned on anti-reform issues now "find themselves walking a tightrope" of opposing and recognizing the law because as lawmakers in charge, "they have a new responsibility to follow federal regulations," Politico reports.
For example, on his first day in office, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) authorized state Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen (R) to pursue a lawsuit against the law, even as Walker is applying for health reform grants and has said he will not block implementation.
Some states have employed a bipartisan approach to the law's implementation.
In Iowa, Gov.-elect Terry Brandstad (R) recently praised a report from the bipartisan Legislative Health Care Coverage Commission on how to implement federal regulations. While Brandstad has challenged the law's constitutionality, his appointee to head the state's health department, Chuck Palmer, has said that reform "really is the law of the land, and that must be taken into account" in how the state will run its health programs.
Republican governors are likely to proceed slowly with implementation to comply with the law and also to prevent the federal government from stepping in to implement the law, Politico reports (Kliff, Politico, 1/4).
RGA To Support Governors in Blocking Implementation
At the same time, the Republican Governors Association is preparing to help governors fight the law's implementation, The Hill's "Ballot Box" reports. While specific details on RGA's approach have not been released, the organization's goal is to ensure that Republican governors are "speaking with one powerful voice" (D'Aprile, "Ballot Box," The Hill, 1/4).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.