States Prepare For Supreme Court Health Care Decision

States are trying to figure out what the upcoming Supreme Court decision on the president's Affordable Care Act will mean for them. And many are delaying action on the law, which could mean that if the law is upheld, they will fall behind the timeline set by the feds.

Much of the debate centers around the health insurance exchanges mandated by the new law. They would create a marketplace for people and small businesses to buy coverage.

  • In Wisconsin: Republican Governor Scott Walker, a critic of the law, says that if it is upheld, he will not take action to set up the exchanges required by the law until after November elections. He's hoping that if the president does not win re-election, the law will be repealed. More on that here.
  • In Texas: The Lone Star state is one of several states challenging the law, and though Texas has received federal funds to start creating health care exchanges, there's no evidence that they are moving forward, The Associated Press reports.
  • In Illinois: lawmakers' weekly meetings to design the health exchanges have been put on hold until the Supreme Court decision. Democratic State Rep. Frank Mautino told the News Tribune that because of the delay, the state will not be ready to launch the exchanges in compliance with the federal timeline.  Read more.
  • In Michigan: Republican lawmakers, who say they want to wait for the Supreme Court decision, have prevented state officials from using $9.8 million in federal money to set up the health insurance exchanges. Now Republican Gov. Rick Synder is considering working with the federal government to create the exchanges, because if the court upholds the law, officials there say Michigan is running out of time to create them on its own. AP has this story, again.
  • In Nebraska: Officials say they are ready to move forward with health care exchanges if the law is upheld. Read the AP coverage here.

Additionally, states are unsure of what will happen to the billions in federal money that's been set aside, and in many cases already given to the states, to help them comply with the law, according to Stateline.

To date, Washington has written checks for $13.7 billion, according to a federal funds tracker created by the Kaiser Family Foundation. Of that, 31 percent, or about $4.2 billion, has gone directly to state and local governments.

This program aired on June 27, 2012. The audio for this program is not available.


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