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ACHP President and CEO Ceci Connolly discusses pricing in the Affordable Care Act marketplace on CNBC.
New CMS Chief Verma sends letter to states
On her first day as head of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, Seema Verma sent a letter to governors urging states to impose premiums for those enrolled in Medicaid and prodding beneficiaries to hold jobs. Amy Goldstein of The Washington Post reports that the letter signals the beginning of a restructuring of the Medicaid program to incorporate conservative principles.
Large spending cuts for HHS under proposed Trump budget
Under President Trump’s budget proposal, the Department of Health and Human Services would see an 18 percent budget cut. Programs affected include the National Institutes of Health, which would see more than one-third of its budget cut, and the Food and Drug Administration, which would be forced to rely more heavily on product approval applicant fees, writes Amy Goldstein of The Washington Post. Not all programs received budget cuts: substance abuse services aimed at curbing the opioid epidemic would receive an additional $500 million, and the proposal would also establish emergency funding for rapid response to disease outbreak. Past budgets proposed by presidents have undergone significant changes during the legislative process.
Changes to come for GOP’s AHCA
Republican leaders are planning to refine the American Health Care Act (AHCA) in hopes of getting enough votes to pass the legislation through the House. The Associated Press shares that conservatives in the House indicate the bill does not undo enough of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), while moderates are concerned about the large number of individuals projected to lose health coverage under the legislation moving through the House.
The legislation was approved by the House Budget Committee this morning in a 19-17 vote, with three Republican members voting against the plan. All three are members of the conservative Freedom Caucus. The House Rules Committee will now take up the bill. Republican leaders are expected to make amendments to the bill to assuage conservative concerns, but what specific changes will be made is not known, writes Jessie Hellmann of The Hill.
Fewer new customers purchase health plans
On Wednesday morning, a final report on the ACA marketplace showed more returning customers signing up for plans but fewer new customers enrolling in coverage. States that do not run their own marketplaces saw the biggest drop. More than 12 million individuals purchased health plans through the exchanges. Shelby Livingston of Modern Healthcare reports.
States troubled by spending cuts in AHCA
Shifting Medicaid to per capita funding and replacing federal subsidies with refundable tax credits are key components of the House bill to repeal and replace the ACA. Officials in state governments are worried these provisions could place additional burdens on state budgets as they limit money that used to flow directly to the states. These changes could force states to either cut essential programs or find alternative funding, according to The Associated Press.
Requirements for nonprofit status in question
The renewed debate over health care reform is reviving discussions about what requirements nonprofit hospitals should meet. A broad set of rules for nonprofit hospitals were implemented under the ACA to validate these organizations’ tax-exempt status, including triennial assessment of local health needs and engagement with the community. Although these provisions have not been included in any draft legislation or regulation, the future of the rules is in question. Shefali Luthra of Kaiser Health News reports.