Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Wednesday Winter Wonderland

It's snowing and sleeting and whatever else it's doing outside. I can hear it on my skylight, so I know there's ice. I'll be staying indoors today. You too? Curl up and read today's news:

States are trying to figure out how to respond to the Florida court ruling. Since the judge did not stop the law's implementation and the federal government says full speed ahead, States that refuse to implement may be caught short -- and in violation of federal law -- if the law ends up being upheld. And some States are actually concerned about consumers who got insurance under the law -- do they now lose it? Since the court's decision only affects the parties to the lawsuit, it doesn't stop insurance companies or the States that were not part of the lawsuit from fully implementing the law. Health care companies have said they are moving ahead with implementation. Sounds like a recipe for chaos, at least until the Supreme Court rules on the case, which won't happen for awhile.

Meanwhile, Americans who are benefiting from the law don't know whether they will have insurance when all is said and done. Will their lifetime cap on benefits be reinstated? Opponents of reform have no idea how stressful this uncertainty is.

And the Senate is expected to vote today on repealing the law. They should lose -- they have 47 votes and they need 60, so unless 13 Democrats vote for repeal, the GOP can't win this round. Reports are that all 53 Democrats and Independents will vote against repeal. The Senate will also consider an amendment that would eliminate the 1099 reporting requirement (a bookkeeping nightmare) that everybody agrees should be eliminated.

And new bills keep getting introduced. Two Republican Senators yesterday introduced a bill that would allow States to opt out of health reform. It seems that the GOP is opposed to the mandatory nature of the requirement to buy insurance, although some say they're in favor of strongly encouraging it.

In other news, a hospital anti-infection method seems to be working -- good news for patients.

California Blue Shield has finally agreed to postpone its rate increase for 60 days so the new Insurance Commissioner can get up to speed, analyze the increase, and respond appropriately.

And that's it for this morning. Hope you stay warm and dry. Jennifer

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