While House Republican leaders have stepped up their rhetoric about dismantling the new health care law, the GOP wave that extended to governor’s mansions and state legislatures will provide critics of the law ample opportunity to put their stamp on the measure at the state level.
Nearly all of the Republicans who won gubernatorial races campaigned against the health care law, and at least two new GOP governors, Sam Brownback of Kansas and Matt Mead of Wyoming, have said their states should join in legal challenges to overturn the insurance coverage mandate in the law.
If Republican governors drag their feet too much, specifically on insurance exchanges, the law permits the federal government to take over where states fall behind. But with the Health and Human Services Department already tasked with the huge role of writing regulations for each provision of the law, having to run exchanges and other programs for states with potentially hostile governments will add to the challenge.
The turnover among governors means there is also the potential of a shift in the makeup of insurance commissioners.
After passing medical loss ratio regulations that liberal groups heralded as tough on insurance companies and good for consumers, the National Association of Insurance Commissioners may find itself with a more conservative outlook come January. NAIC still has much to do with the health care law, most notably in determining what insurance exchanges should look like.
The association might be facing a new round of elections for its 2011 leadership if newly elected GOP governors in Iowa and Florida appoint new commissioners over NAIC President Susan Voss and President-elect Kevin McCarty. NAIC VP Kim Holland, Oklahoma’s current insurance commissioner, was ousted Tuesday in favor of GOP contender John Doak.
What We're Following See More »
Democrats in the House are threatening to shut down the government if Republicans expedite a vote on a bill to repeal and replace Obamacare, said Democratic House Whip Steny Hoyer Thursday. Lawmakers have introduced a one-week spending bill to give themselves an extra week to reach a long-term funding deal, which seemed poised to pass easily. However, the White House is pressuring House Republicans to take a vote on their Obamacare replacement Friday to give Trump a legislative victory, though it is still not clear that they have the necessary votes to pass the health care bill. This could go down to the wire.
Members of Congress are eyeing a one-week spending bill which would keep the government open past the Friday night deadline, giving lawmakers an extra week to iron out a long-term deal to fund the government. Without any action, the government would run out of funding starting at midnight Saturday. “I am optimistic that a final funding package will be completed soon," said Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen, R-N.J., chairman of the House Appropriations Committee.
"President Trump informed Mexican President Pena Nieto and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Wednesday afternoon that he will not pull the U.S. from the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) despite reports earlier in the day that he had considered doing so. ... The three leaders agreed to proceed quickly with renegotiation plans as the initial review process comes to a close."
"A new bill to revive a permanent nuclear waste repository in Yucca Mountain, Nev., fails to address the concerns of Nevada lawmakers, suggesting the latest attempt may not resolve a 20-year impasse over the issue." The state's congressional delegation "shared their opposition to the nuclear waste policy amendment during a House Energy and Commerce subcommittee hearing focused on the legislation," and promised that Gov. Brian Sandoval would oppose it at every turn. "The new bill aims to finally use some $31 billion that has accumulated in the Nuclear Waste Fund, set aside in 1982 to collect specifically for a permanent repository."