Morning CheckUp: August 17, 2011

What if the mandate goes?: “The result could trigger a complex scenario in which insurers still have to cover virtually anyone regardless of their health status and history, but without a mechanism that requires everyone to participate. And if healthy people don’t have to participate, premiums for everyone else could shoot through the roof as insurers cover more people with serious health problems.” [Matt DoBais]

Perry calls for more ‘skin in the game’: “Rather than just showing up in the emergency room because they know the government is going to pay for it is really beginning to teach people again there is a cost associated with all these programs,” he continued, “and that personal responsibility, you know, really begins with each one of us and helping people understand better that the government is not there to be the be all and end all for everything.” [CBS News]

Merck lobbyist forms PAC for Perry: Mike Toomey, who had served as Perry’s chief of staff and possibly encouraged the Texas governor to issue the 2007 executive order mandating that young women receive the HPV vaccine, has since helped found a super PAC aimed at boosting Perry’s bid for the presidency. [Washington Post]

ACLU sues over Kansas abortion restriction: A federal lawsuit filed Tuesday by the American Civil Liberties Union contends the a Kansas law banning private insurers from providing elective abortion coverage (unless the procedure is necessary to save the mother’s life) “is unconstitutional and discriminates against women because it doesn’t apply similar insurance limits on men’s health care needs.” [Kansas City Star]


CMS to release coverage explanation regs: “Consumers shopping for health insurance will soon get a peek at a new standard form — akin to the nutrition label on food products — that will lay out the details of each policy, from deductibles to how much it might cost to have a baby.” [WSJ]

Will feds have enough money to build exchanges?: “A quirk in the Affordable Care Act is that while it gives HHS the authority to create a federal exchange for states that don’t set up their own, it doesn’t actually provide any funding to do so. By contrast, the law appropriates essentially unlimited sums for helping states create their own exchanges.” [Lester Feder]

Orszag on the success of health IT: “Even with the all-too- depressing illustrations of political paralysis we’ve seen recently, government can still act to improve our lives. A good case in point: The U.S. health sector is rapidly digitizing, and federal legislation from early 2009, passed well before the health-care reform act, is an important reason why.” [Bloomberg]

California considering ‘basic’ health plan for lower-income residents: “Senate Health Committee Chair Ed Hernandez (D) has introduced a bill (SB 703) that would create a state-run Basic Health Program as an alternative to the state’s health insurance exchange. The plan would be open only to Californians who have incomes between 133% and 200% of the federal poverty level — or between $14,484 and $21,780 annually for individuals.” [California HealthLine]

Minnesota Republicans try to stop implementation of exchange: “Top legislative Republicans on Tuesday accused the Dayton administration of overstepping its authority in moving forward with a health insurance exchange under the federal health care law, saying they’re weighing every option to halt the implementation — including court action.” [Politics In Minnesota]