States move on health care reforms

Texas, New York and Georgia are all working on bills that will reform health care in their states. Texas Governor Rick Perry is expected to sign a package of health care reform bills sent to his desk yesterday that will give the state more control over Medicare and Medicaid. A new Georgia law will allow insurers to offer policies with less coverage than state minimums currently require and New York’s health insurance exchange bill has stalled out in the Senate.

Texas has been quietly moving forward on health care reform measures including exchanges and health IT funding despite republican opposition in the statehouse and previous public comments from Governor Rick Perry. Yesterday, the state legislature approved a package of bills designed to give the state more control over Medicare and Medicaid funding, and to protect consumers from health care contractors convicted of fraud. Doctors will also be allowed to partner with hospitals in order to approve patient outcomes.

If signed, the state will expand managed care services and move forward on initiatives to Medicare and Medicaid more cost effective. The state is also asking the federal government for control over the two programs in order to create a compact with neighboring states and run Medicaid using federal block grant funds.

New York’s health insurance exchange bill has disappeared from the state senate agenda due to republican opposition to implementing federal health care reform requirements. The agreed upon bill was set to go before the senate for a vote but was removed after some lawmakers said there were too many issues for the senate to take up last minute. Health care reform supporters are pushing for the bill to be approved soon so that New York will be eligible for the maximum amount of federal grant funds available to states implementing health care reform requirements.

In Georgia, a new law set to take effect on July 1 will allow health insurers to provide policies that offer less coverage than currently required by state minimums. The law offers Georgia residents the ability to purchase policies across state lines even if those policies do not fall in line with state coverage rules. State lawmakers are set to flesh out the allowances for these policies in the coming months.

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