It will take years for the entirety of the health care reform to be enacted, but some provisions went into effect the moment President Obama signed it into law today. One of the most wide-ranging prevents states from cutting Medicaid and children’s health insurance coverage—or tightening rules to restrict eligibility—until the new state-run exchanges are in place in 2014. The measure could come into play as cash-strapped states look for budget cuts, notes the New York Times.
Other immediate changes: “Freestanding birth centers” are now eligible for Medicaid payments, and victims of “environmental health hazards” are eligible for an expansion in Medicare benefits. The latter is aimed specifically at people in Montana exposed to asbestos from a vermiculite mine. Also, the HHS secretary must within 2 months “develop a standardized format to be used for the presentation of information relating to coverage”—essentially, make it easier for people compare benefits offered by private insurers.
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