The settlement announced this week between the state and Noridian Healthcare Services over Maryland’s bungled online health exchange is not quite a done deal.

The $45 million deal must still be approved by Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, the U.S. attorney’s office for Maryland and the North Dakota insurance regulators, who oversee Noridian Healthcare’s parent company.

Last week, Alaska Governor Bill Walker announced that he will bypass the legislative process and implement Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion by executive fiat.

Walker’s announcement should be no surprise to Obamacare proponents – after all, President Obama has maltreated his executive authority dozens of times to amend his signature law. But expansion may come as a shock to Alaska’s legislative leadership, who last month brokered an informal arrangement with the governor to put Medicaid expansion on hold until 2016.

California lawmakers and activists are spearheading a first-in-the-nation plan to let undocumented immigrants buy Obamacare health insurance.
Supporters say the California proposal, which would need federal approval and couldn’t start until 2017, is the next logical step in expanding health insurance to a population that was intentionally excluded from the president’s health-care law. But uniting the two highly combustible issues of Obamacare and immigration could reignite a fierce health-care reform controversy.

After failing to persuade his Legislature to expand Medicaid, Gov. Bill Walker of Alaska said Thursday that he planned to unilaterally accept the federal funds available to cover more low-income residents under the program.

Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach is urging Congress to ratify a mechanism that he says would give states an avenue to exempt themselves from the Affordable Care Act.

But critics of the plan have said the plan could jeopardize the health care of people who receive other forms of federal health care benefits, including more than 450,000 seniors in Kansas on Medicare, the federal health insurance program for the elderly.

District residents who want to purchase individual insurance plans on the city’s health exchange will have fewer options next year.

In fact, individuals searching for more flexibility than that offered by health maintenance organizations will have just one carrier to choose from — and the cost for some of its plans may jump by double digits.

For a Southern state where President Barack Obama is deeply unpopular and Republicans dominate federal elections, Kentucky stands out for having created a well-regarded health exchange and having expanded Medicaid coverage under the Affordable Care Act. That dynamic will be put to the test in November’s gubernatorial election.

Get Covered Illinois, the state Obamacare exchange, which has been housed in the governor’s office, will be moving to the Illinois Department of Insurance on Aug. 1.

The announcement comes one day after the exchange confirmed plans to lay off most of its employees on July 31.

Arkansas’s Obamacare Medicaid expansion has been a costly misadventure. The expansion has been so misguided in fact, that lawmakers voted earlier this year to end it, effective December 31, 2016.

That hasn’t stopped state bureaucrats from scurrying to institute a new component of expansion that makes the program even worse.

The administration’s victory in the latest Obamacare case, King v. Burwell, has relieved Congress of the need to quickly repair or replace the Affordable Care Act. But that does not mean Congress should sit back and wait for the 2016 election and a Republican president to fix the law. In fact, Republicans may have an easy way to reach their policy objectives, in a manner that might attract bipartisan support and even a signature from President Obama.