We all know the big things to watch for this year about the health care reform law: the Supreme Court and the elections.
But those aren’t the only things that will matter.
The law turns two years old on Friday, and its third year will see other milestones that will determine how it works — if it survives. States have to do their part to implement it, and some will do little or nothing. Health care providers have to decide whether to participate in experiments on controlling costs and testing new ways of delivering care.
1) How many states won’t set up their own exchanges?
The law leaves it up to the states to set up health insurance exchanges, the new marketplaces for individuals and small businesses. In states that refuse to do that, Health and Human Services has the power to create a federal exchange as a backup — but it could be stretched thin if it has to do that in too many states.
So far, though, a lot of states are not moving ahead. The federal exchange could end up covering as many as 15 to 25 states, according to former Mississippi Gov. Ronnie Musgrove, who’s running an advisory panel on rural implementation of health care reform.