A weekly compilation from Aetna of health care-related developments in Washington, D.C. and state legislatures across the country

Atena reports:

Week of February 14, 2011

States with Republican governors kept up the pressure last week on Washington to give the states greater control over health care under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA). Twenty-one Republican governors sent a letter to Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius asking for greater authority over some provisions of health reform, including the ability to define “essential” health benefits and set minimum criteria for participating in insurance exchanges. They threatened not to run their own state-based exchanges if HHS does not act on their requests. Sebelius quickly responded with her own letter in which she reviewed the various options states have to reduce costs in their Medicaid programs, and she indicated she is continuing to review what authority she may have to “waive the maintenance of effort under current law.” Senate bills have already been introduced to address the role of the states in health care reform, which is sure to keep the issue on the front burner.