Understanding the administrative side of implementation

Coverage of health care reform implementation has generally focused on the issues and effects of the roll-out, rather than the arcane governmental mechanisms involved. It makes sense, of course, as “here’s how you can now get coverage despite your pre-existing condition” is significantly more relevant to most readers than “23 states miss federal 90-day deadline for creation of high-risk pools, partly because already established pools don’t always conform to reform requirements, and partly because it’s too much hassle and they’d rather let the feds do it for them.”

Service-oriented as it may be, this focus has led to a few gaps in my understanding of the administrative moving parts involved in implementation. Which is why the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s guide to state and federal roles in the implementation of health care reform is such a handy document. It’s worth a quick scan, if only to give all those implementation stories a little context. It’s got everything from “how informal rulemaking becomes law” (hint: it involves both “notice” and “comment”), to the aforementioned business about why some states ceded control of their high-risk pools to the federal government. And it’s only four pages long.

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