What happens when the money runs out?
The new health reform law provides $5 billion to states to create temporary high-risk pools until broader reforms take place in 2014. But health care experts warn that $5 billion should last one year at most.
HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius at the beginning of April asked governors and state insurance commissioners whether they wanted to form their own high-risk pools, or whether the federal government would need to do it in their state. One state already has indicated that it won't do it. Currently, more than 30 states have high-risk pools, although they are often underfunded and have long waiting lists and high premiums.
In theory, both Democrats and Republicans have supported the concept of high-risk pools. Will these pools, as they are envisioned in the health reform law, help? Is it better for states or the federal government to run them? And should Congress appropriate more money?