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Early innovator states not racing to the finish line

Deltek Health Care and Social Services Analyst Aila Altman reports.

Despite receiving millions of dollars in federal funding to get a leg up on developing federally-mandated health insurance exchanges, several Early Innovator Grant recipients continue to battle health care reform law. In total, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) awarded $241 million to seven states in February 2011 through the Early Innovator Grant program. The main objective for the recipients is to provide a model for other states as they begin planning and implementing individual exchanges. However, regardless of the push to get an early start, a handful of the early innovator states have yet to pass legislation for the creation of such an exchange, while others have taken the funding and quickly gotten to work.

Texas, like many of the early innovator states, is seemingly contradicting itself as it has yet to establish legislation to set up an exchange. Though Governor Rick Perry chose to comply with the requirement to establish one, he believes the law will be overturned before the January 2014 deadline. The state will soon award a consulting contract to assist in the design, development, and implementation of an exchange.

Regardless of opposition from Governor Sam Brownback, Kansas has hit the ground running by upgrading the state’s eligibility system for Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), collectively known as K-MED, which it will integrate into the state’s health insurance exchange. However, the state has yet to pass legislation for an exchange and is in the midst of suing the federal government to declare ObamaCare unconstitutional.

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