Health Care Reform Update - January 12, 2011

Implementation of Health Care Reform Law

On January 1st, just days before the new Congress convened, numerous provisions of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) went into effect, including numerous consumer-friendly provisions that ACA supporters hope will boost the law’s popularity, especially with seniors. In all, over 20 provisions will go into effect during the course of 2011. Those that went into effect on January 1st include new medical-loss ratio regulations that require insurers to provide rebates to consumer if they do not meet the requirements, closure of the Medicare drug coverage gap, bonus payments to doctors for primary care services under Medicare, elimination of cost-sharing for Medicare-covered preventative services recommended by the U.S. Preventative Services Task Force, establishment of the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation, freezing the income threshold for higher income Medicare beneficiaries, and a new long-term care insurance program in addition to others.

On January 3rd, newly elected Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker (R) released a letter to the state attorney general authorizing him to file suit against the ACA. Gov. Walker campaigned on that promise and insisted the law is unconstitutional. A copy of that letter can be found here. Florida’s recently elected Attorney General Pam Bondi (R) will also be taking over the multi-state lawsuit led by former Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum who stepped down to run for governor. Shortly after being sworn in, Bondi indicated that she expected additional states to join her state’s lead in filing suit, but on January 7th, newly elected Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt (R) announced that his state will file its own lawsuit.

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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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