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Trump presidency spells changes for ACA
Republican control of the presidency, House and Senate could put the Affordable Care Act in jeopardy. Republicans drafted a bill last winter that would meet the criteria for the reconciliation process and have published a document titled A Better Way that outlines a plan for the Affordable Care Act’s repeal and replacement. Sarah Kliff of Vox reports.
Republicans would need a 60-vote supermajority in the Senate to repeal the Affordable Care Act but could eradicate several provisions through reconciliation, a special budgetary process. According to Margot Sanger-Katz of The New York Times, this legislation could eliminate the penalty for not purchasing insurance, remove subsidies that help individuals buy health coverage and end taxes that help fund health programs.
President-Elect Donald Trump could change the Affordable Care Act (ACA) without repealing the entire health law. Alison Kodjak of NPR shares Trump proposed several measures during his campaign, including promoting tax-free health savings accounts and permitting insurers to sell plans in several states to increase competition. Hecould also encourage high-deductible plans or support House Speaker Paul Ryan’s health plan, A Better Way, which starts with repealing the ACA. The Commonwealth Fund analyzed Trump’s health care plan and found it would increase the number of uninsured by as many as 25 million people, as it would give tax breaks to promote health coverage but not require individuals to purchase insurance.
Health care policy in the new year
Lobbyists are predicting changes to Medicaid as Republicans seek to cut federal spending with block grants or per-capita caps. Medicaid block grants are a large component of House Speaker Paul Ryan’s plan for health care. John Wilkerson of Inside Health Policy reports (subscriber’s content).
Election outcomes have prompted health care leaders to rethink strategies. A Trump presidency could cause the U.S. Justice Department and Federal Trade Commission to view health care mergers more favorably. The new administration could also bring changes to Medicare, despite Trump’s campaign promise not to change the program. Included in the GOP platform is a shift away from defined benefits for seniors, which could lead to higher costs for beneficiaries. Harris Meyer of Modern Healthcare has the story.
The Trump administration and the new Congress will have to address several health care challenges at the start of their terms. The Child Health Insurance Program, the Food and Drug Administration’s ability to obtain user fees from prescription drug and medical device companies and Medicare’s Independent Payment Advisory Board are up for renewal in 2017. Julie Rovner of Kaiser Health News reports.
California, Colorado residents vote on health initiatives
California citizens voted to pass Proposition 52, which permanently instates a hospital fee program used to support Medi-Cal, the state’s version of Medicaid. The program uses hospital fees to generate funds for Medi-Cal, resulting in net benefits for hospitals. State lawmakers will now have less flexibility when changing the hospital fee program. Sophia Bollag at the Los Angeles Times has the story.
The California ballot initiative to address rising drug costs will likely be defeated. According to California’s Secretary of State, 54 percent of voters opposed the California Drug Price Relief Act as of late Tuesday night. The measure would allow state health programs to pay the same price for prescription drugs as the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. Deena Beasley of Reuters reports the pharmaceutical industry spent millions to fight the initiative.
On Tuesday night Colorado residents voted against Amendment 69, a measure known as ColoradoCare that would have created a universal health care system in the state. ColoradoCare would have replaced most private insurers with a cooperative funded by taxpayers at a cost of about $36 billion a year. Supporters of the amendment say they will reintroduce the measure in the future. John Ingold of The Denver Post reports.