This very good summary of early 2011 developments in implementing health care reform looks at the issues from the perspective of the Obama administration, Congress and state legislatures, and the courts. Some of the key 2011 dates it mentions are as follows:

January 12: House of Representatives vote on a bill to repeal health care reform, which I discussed in a bit more detail an earlier post. Though the overall vote may fail, piecemeal revisions could succeed, with expanded 1099 reporting being the most-often listed popular target for repeal. The linked article, from national health insurance association AHIP (America’s Health Insurance Plans), evaluates some other potential “low hanging fruit” that may be slated for more targeted repeal efforts.

January 12-14: The Institute of Medicine will hold a 2-day meeting devoted to discussion of the “essential health benefits” standard under the PPACA, which will determine which benefit packages may be offered on state exchanges. The IOM’s findings will no doubt have significant impact on the Department of Health and Human Services, which intends to issue regulations on this point by the end of the year. The Department of Labor will also work towards defining a “typical employer plan” against which to measure the “essential health benefits” concept.

February 15: By this date, HHS will announce the five states that will receive grants towards development of information technology systems for the state-based insurance exchanges. The AHIP article contains more details on the insurance industry’s steps to prepare for the exchanges.

And continuing through 2011, federal courts will continue to hear constitutional challenges to health care reform, specifically the individual mandate. The decision of Florida district court Roger Vinson is still pending in a challenge to the mandate brought by 20 state attorneys’ general, which currently is the highest-profile case of this type. As the AHIP article mentions, in December oral argument Vinson questioned whether the government could also control health care by requiring Americans to eat their vegetables. Proponents of health care reform might want to start hoping that, unlike a former American president, Judge Vinson loves broccoli.

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