Some states must rush to meet ACA deadline

June 29, 2012 at 1:27 PM
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WASHINGTON, June 29 (UPI) -- Some states will have to rush to meet requirements of the Affordable Care Act now that the U.S. Supreme Court has upheld it, observers say.

The healthcare reform law, upheld by a 5-4 vote in the high court Thursday, requires individuals be able to buy insurance through new state health insurance exchanges by Jan. 1, 2014.

The New York Times noted that by Jan. 1, 2013, states must show the Department of Health and Human Services the exchanges will be operational by the next year.

If they fail to do so, HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius "shall establish and operate" the exchanges for the states, the ACA stipulates.

The Times says that presumably wouldn't go over well with Republican governors including Rick Scott of Florida, Rick Perry of Texas and Scott Walker of Wisconsin.

Despite the high court's ruling, Walker said he wouldn't go ahead with implementing the law while he waits to see whether Republicans take control of the White House or Congress. The likely Republican presidential candidate, Mitt Romney, and GOP lawmakers have said they would move to repeal the law if elected.

"Wisconsin will not take any action to implement Obamacare," Walker said in a statement. "I am hopeful that political changes in Washington, D.C., later this year ultimately end the implementation of this law at the federal level."

Perry, in a statement, called the ruling "a stomach punch to the American economy" but didn't say whether he would move to implement the law.

"Now that the Supreme Court has abandoned us, we citizens must take action at every level of government and demand real reform," Perry said.

The non-partisan Center on Budget and Policy Priorities said only 10 states and the District of Columbia have passed laws on establishment of insurance exchanges.

Even those states and insurers that have made progress toward creating the exchanges will find meeting the law's deadlines a challenge, insurance and hospital executives said.

"It's going to be a significant lift to be done in all 50 states," said Mark T. Bertolini, the chief executive of Aetna.

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