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Can Health Care Pass Midterm Exams?

The thought of midterm exams is unsettling to students. Late nights, review sheets, study groups. The results of these tests are a significant component of a final grade. Health care midterms are much the same; individuals will need to vote in their state’s “midterm” to determine the future of health care reform in their states.

Health Insurance and other benefits are state regulated, which will impact local interest in health care reform. The governor and attorney general in each state will be tasked with creating insurance exchanges for their residents by 2014. The exorbitant costs associated with offering and comparing plans, purchasing coverage, developing information technology AND being ready to make it available in a mere three years is a daunting undertaking . Given the precarious condition of many state budgets, and politics in general, numerous governors are unlikely to avidly support the creation of the exchanges. Furthermore, 20 state attorneys general have filed suit indicating that requiring an individual to purchase health insurance (from an exchange or elsewhere) is unconstitutional and should, therefore be repealed. Certainly, there is apprehension at the state level.

Historically, retirees have been the most consistent participants in midterms. In states with a considerable senior population, there is sizable concern over what healthcare reform will mean to Medicare. With reductions in reimbursement, several insurance companies have already eliminated Medicare Advantage plans. Lower payments to physicians may drive some doctors out of the program altogether. While keeping doctors and accessing treatment nearby is the most consuming worry among retirees, there is even more anxiety surrounding health care reform among Medicare beneficiaries in different parts of the country.

There are 50 different health care midterms. “Test takers” will determine who will pass the exam and they, in turn, will determine what parts of health care reform remain intact.

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