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House schedules health care vote
The House will vote on a revised health care reform bill sometime this afternoon. Republican leaders expect the bill to narrowly pass after attaching two amendments to address party concerns. Around 20 GOP lawmakers had announced their opposition to the bill before the latest amendment; Republicans can only afford 22 defections.
Some moderates have been swayed by Rep. Frank Upton’s (R-MI) amendment adding $8 billion over five years to fund high-risk pools for states that opt out of protections for consumers with pre-existing conditions. Analysts believe the additional funding will have little to no impact, asserting hundreds of billions of dollars in funding would be needed to effectively support the pools.
Major health care groups are opposing the GOP bill. Advocacy and industry organizations have been a challenge to the House bill and could continue to be an obstacle if the measure makes it to the Senate.
Health care bill could affect employer coverage, uncompensated care
State waivers to forgo coverage of essential health benefits could affect individuals who have health coverage through an employer. Employers are not bound by benefit requirements of the state they operate in. Analysts are concerned that under the Republican health care bill employers could choose benefits from a state that obtained a waiver and offer less coverage to workers.
Medicaid expansion helped to reduce the burden of uncompensated care on hospitals, according to an analysis from the Commonwealth Fund. If Medicaid expansion were rolled back, the researchers predict large increases in hospital costs due to uncompensated care.
Provider networks purchasing hospitals for leverage
Large provider groups seem to be purchasing and selling hospitals in an attempt to consolidate markets and gain leverage in price negotiations with insurers. Bob Herman of Axios explores how HCA, Tenet Healthcare, Community Health Systems, and some non-profit hospital groups have begun building larger networks in order to force insurers to pay higher fees.
Event Announcement: Better Together Health 2017 is happening May 24 in Washington, DC.
The Council of Accountable Physician Practices (CAPP) and the American Cancer Society are joining forces to showcase how coverage and accountable health care systems can improve survival and reduce morbidity for people living with complex conditions like cancer.