Health Care Reform Update - May 16, 2011

Implementation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA)

On May 9th Vermont’s single-payer health system legislation headed to Governor Peter Shumlin’s (D) desk after passing the state legislature. The legislation establishes an exchange for the state for the year 2014 as required by the ACA and then transitions to a single-payer system launch three years later.

On May 10th two court cases were heard in the U.S. 4th Circuit Court of Appeals. The first was a decision in favor of the administration that the ACA is constitutional in a lawsuit brought by the conservative Liberty University. The second involves the administration defending the same law against a lawsuit filed by Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli (R) where a lower court ruled that the ACA was unconstitutional. One of the main questions before the court was the severability of the individual mandate from the law.

On May 10th numerous industry groups including the American Medical Association and America’s Health Insurance Plans co-authored a letter to Senate Majority and Minority Leaders Harry Reid (D-NV) and Mitch McConnell (R-KY) urging them to modify new restrictions on Flexible Spending Accounts (FSAs) under the ACA. Sen. Pat Roberts (R-KS) is currently seeking a Democratic co-sponsor to legislation he intends to introduce to repeal that section of the ACA.

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