I just returned from Washington, D.C., after a week of intense training about the new health care law – what it is, and what it might mean for people in Northern New York, and the rest of the country. The workshop was held jointly by NPR and the Kaiser Family Foundation (whose mission is to provide information about health care policy – and is NOT the same organization as Kaiser Permanente health insurance).
There’s been so much political wrangling over the health care law, it’s been hard for most people to understand what’s actually in it. Turns out, the state of New York is a leader in getting ready to implement the law, which is scheduled to go into effect in January 2014. Some states, such as Florida, are doing nothing to prepare. Political insiders who spoke with us in Washington think these states are counting on the U.S. Supreme Court to strike it down, or for Mitt Romney to be elected president, and then repeal it.
In the coming months, I’m planning to report about what New York is doing, and what it will mean for people here. One thing we learned was that for folks who have employee-sponsored health insurance, it’s not going to change much. It’s the people on Medicaid, Medicare, and those with no insurance, who can expect some changes – new health care exchanges, and possibly a (subsidized) mandate to buy insurance.
But nearly everyone who spoke with our group of reporters in Washington about details of the law, also spoke with a caveat – no one really knows how the Supreme Court will rule. The decision is expected sometime in June.