HEALTH REFORM -- February 25, 2011 at 5:39 PM EDT
A Judicial Win for Health Reform, the Governors Come to Town
It was one more mark in the judicial "win" column for supporters of the health care reform law this week, as a federal judge in Washington, D.C. ruled that the law's individual mandate is constitutional. For those keeping score, that's three judges for the mandate and two against, as we explained Wednesday.
Meanwhile, the federal government asked Judge Roger Vinson, who ruled against the law in the highest-profile case, brought by 26 states, to clarify his ruling. The administration wants Vinson to say that he didn't intend for states to stop implementing reform as the cases make their way to the Supreme Court. The 26 states say that's "wishful thinking."
HHS announced Thursday that states could apply for $199 million in grants to improve their evaluation of insurance rate hikes.
Potential 2012 Republican presidential candidates sparred over health reform. Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee says that former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney should apologize for the Massachusetts health reform law; a Romney spokesman says the former governor is "proud of what he accomplished."
And next week...
The governors come to town. The National Governors Association begins Saturday in Washington, D.C. Ahead of the meeting, HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius released a letter outlining the flexibility states have in implementing health care reform. The letter was a response to a letter the governors sent her earlier this month requesting more flexibility setting up insurance exchanges.
While they're here, some governors plan to testify before the House Energy and Commerce Committee, led by Rep. Fred Upton, R-Mich., in a hearing entitled "The Consequences of Obamacare: Impact on Medicaid and State Health Care Reform."