EXCHANGE LAWS: Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley signed a bill this week authorizing the creation of a state health insurance exchange, as required by the 2010 health law. California and West Virginia are the only other states with such laws so far. Last week, New Mexico's Republican Governor Susana Martinez vetoed a bill that would have created an exchange, because she said the federal government has not yet issued rules laying out how states should structure the health insurance shopping Web sites.
MEDICAID BUDGETING: Republican Governor Jan Brewer's plan to help balance Arizona's budget by dropping Medicaid coverage for about 138,000 adults is headed to court. An article in Bloomberg Businessweek reports a public interest attorney saying a lawsuit challenging Brewer's plan would be filed soon, probably with the Arizona Supreme Court. At issue is a law approved by voters in 2000 that expanded Medicaid services for low-income adults. While cutting back Medicaid funding in general, the budget Brewer signed last week restored coverage for
pancreas, liver, heart and lung transplants. The governor's denial of organ transplant assistance last year grabbed national headlines and enraged patient advocates and members of the legislature.
FRIEND OF THE COURT: Missouri Attorney General
Chris Koster, a Democrat who generally supports the national health care law, filed a brief
against its mandatory insurance provision in the Florida
federal court case weighing the law's constitutionality. Koster explained in his April 11 filing that the law's requirement for most people to purchase health insurance conflicts with a 2010 voter-approved law in Missouri prohibiting enforcement of such a mandate. Koster added that the insurance provision is severable from the federal law and that all other sections of the law should be allowed to stand.