Healthcare News December 7, 2012

  • OVERNIGHT HEALTH: Christie says no to NJ-based health exchange

    Gov. Chris Christie (R-N.J.) vetoed a bill Thursday that would have started establishing a state health insurance exchange, meaning New Jersey will default to a federal one. The move, which grows the task facing the Department of Health and Human Services, came just before Christie met with President Obama at the White House to discuss recovery aid for Hurricane Sandy.

    In a statement on his decision, Christie blamed the Obama administration for withholding information on the financial implications of creating a state-based exchange. He predicted the move would be “extraordinarily costly” in spite of massive federal grants to cover expenses.

    “I will not ask New Jerseyans to commit today to a state-based exchange when the federal government cannot tell us what it will cost, how that cost compares to other options, and how much control they will give the states over this option that comes at the cost of our state’s taxpayers,” Christie said.

    The decision will be welcomed by conservatives who blamed Christie for praising Obama in Sandy’s aftermath, effectively boosting the president’s image in the final days of his campaign against Mitt Romney. Read more about Christie’s decision at Healthwatch. 

    CBO on subsidies: The Congressional Budget Office dealt a blow Thursday to the movement that’s trying to derail insurance subsidies in the federally run fallback exchange. Critics of President Obama’s healthcare law, led by Cato Institute scholar Michael Cannon, argue that the law only authorizes subsidies in state-created exchanges — not the federally run fallback.

    The letter of the law says subsidies are for a “state exchange”; but Cannon and his allies also point to the Finance Committee’s markup to argue that Congress only intended to provide subsidies in state exchanges. CBO poured some cold water on that theory Thursday, in a letter to Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.).

  • NJ rejects state-based health exchange

    Gov. Christie shot down the exchange on the same day he
    met with President Obama on Hurricane Sandy aid.

  • Restaurant chains ditch plans to cut workers’ hours in response to health law

    The company that owns Olive Garden and Red Lobster said all of its hourly employees will have access to coverage.

  • News bites: It’s legal

    Marijuana goes legal in Washington state amid mixed messages.

    Some in GOP urge lawmakers to back tax hikes for changes in safety-net programs.

    Poll finds support for boosting taxes on the rich; fewer now back cutting services.

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