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States are moving forward in implementing health care reform

Nancy Marshall-Genzer Jan 8, 2011
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States are moving forward in implementing health care reform

Nancy Marshall-Genzer Jan 8, 2011
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TEXT OF STORY

STEVE CHIOTAKIS: First, here in the U.S., debate could start today in the House of Representatives on a bill to repeal the nation’s new healthcare law. The effort comes just as the Congressional Budget Office released an estimate that says doing away with the law would add $230 billion to the deficit within ten years. And result in $32 million fewer people having health insurance. Republicans dispute those numbers. Despite all the talk in Washington, state governors are moving ahead to implement the law.

Marketplace’s Nancy Marshall Genzer explains.


Nancy Marshall Genzer: The repeal rhetoric was flying on Capitol Hill yesterday. New House Speaker John Boehner:

John Boehner: I think it’s pretty clear to the American people that the best health care system in the world is going to go down the drain if we don’t act.

But even if the House repeals the health care law, the Senate is unlikely to follow suit. And President Obama is standing by with his veto pen. So, states are getting down to the business of implementing the law. Even Republican governors who campaigned against the health care overhaul are now applying for federal grants to put it into effect.

Leighton Ku teaches health policy at George Washington University. He says they’re discovering the difference between campaigning, and governing.

Leighton Ku: It’s one thing for politicians to say this is how I’d like to see things changed, but that is different than recognizing this is what I have to do right now under the existing law.

The health care law gives the states lots of responsibilities, like setting up exchanges where consumers can buy health insurance. And if the states don’t implement the law, the feds will do it for them. Not an appealing prospect for independent-minded governors.

In Washington, I’m Nancy Marshall Genzer for Marketplace.

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