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.
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"Senate Democrats on Thursday failed in their first attempt to save the state and local tax deduction, which helps many residents of California and other high-cost states reduce their federal income tax bills. The Republican-controlled Senate voted 52-47 to reject an amendment that would have prevented the Senate from considering any bill that repeals or limits the deduction as part of a planned tax overhaul."
"President Donald Trump's former campaign manager Corey Lewandowski appeared on Capitol Hill for a closed-door interview with the Senate intelligence committee Wednesday, according to a source familiar with the matter. Lewandowski is the latest senior official in Trump's orbit who has met with the committee as part of its investigation into Russian election meddling and possible collusion with the Trump campaign."
"A growing number of key Republicans are sending this message to the leaders of the congressional committees investigating potential Trump campaign collusion with the Russians: Wrap it up soon. In the House and Senate, several Republicans who sit on key committees are starting to grumble that the investigations have spanned the better part of the past nine months, contending that the Democratic push to extend the investigation well into next year could amount to a fishing expedition."
After initially promising it in August, "President Trump said Monday that he will declare a national emergency next week to address the opioid epidemic." When asked, he also "declined to express confidence in Rep. Tom Marino (R-Pa.), his nominee for drug czar, in the wake of revelations that the lawmaker helped steer legislation making it harder to act against giant drug companies."