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More hurdles for health bill after recess
Returning from recess, Republican Senators are facing even greater odds for passing a health care bill. Senators faced tough questions at town halls in their home districts, and several reliable conservatives have opposed the current version of the legislation. Governors are also weighing in, concerned about the effects on states’ budgets and constituents’ health coverage.
During recess, liberal groups continued opposition to the Senate’s health care bill, but usual conservative groups, which have rallied against Obamacare for years, showed less focus on health care. Many activist groups are shifting priorities, focusing on overhaul of the tax code or veterans’ rights. The absence of conservative grass-roots support could make it more difficult to pass the health care bill.
Republicans are also focusing on what to do if the health bill fails. Some lawmakers would like to fully repeal the ACA, while others are considering ways to stabilize the marketplaces.
Medicaid provides link to mental health care
Medicaid expansion increased access to mental health care for the poor, but the proposed cuts to Medicaid under the GOP health care bill would jeopardize these programs and resources for low-income individuals. A rollback of Medicaid expansion would not only effect those who gained coverage under the expansion, but also those who benefit from mental health programs Medicaid helps to fund.
The number of uninsured U.S. adults grows by two million
The Gallup-Sharecare Well-Being Index found two million more adults are uninsured this year. The uninsured rate rose from 10.9 percent to 11.7 percent, a small but statistically significant change. This survey shows gains from the Affordable Care Act – which covered an additional 20 million people – are beginning to erode.
Removing barriers to MA
Experience through accountable care models has allowed provider groups to explore new models of Medicare Advantage. In an op-ed in Health Affairs, the authors propose a model of MA that would remove barriers to entry through reducing dependency on claims processing and network contracting, lowering costs and improving population health management. Spurring entry into the MA market would create more competition and generate cost savings.
Experts advise parents to assess best health care coverage for kids at college
Many universities require full-time students to be covered by health insurance, and some colleges aggressively push their own plans. Most experts recommend keeping college students on their parent’s employer-sponsored family plans if possible. If students are buying coverage from a university or the ACA exchanges, they should look beyond premiums to consider copays, coinsurance, deductibles and their frequency of care. Also, universities often provide students with basic primary care services for free or a nominal price regardless of their insurance plan.