September 28, 2017
President Trump’s plans for ACA
After the most recent failed attempt to repeal and replace the ACA, President Trump said that he will work with Democrats on a bipartisan bill to improve America’s health care system and hopes to have a vote on a new bill early next year.
The President has plans to sign an executive order as early as next week permitting health insurance to be sold across state lines, which is currently allowed as long as insurers comply with state consumer protection and licensing laws. The idea has failed in states that have tried, since creating competitive provider networks in states where insurers do not have customers is incredibly difficult. The plan is broadly opposed by governors, state insurance commissioners, state attorneys general and many health care organizations.
ACA rates rise in exchange markets
Some insurers have announced double-digit rate increases for plans sold on the ACA exchanges, stemming from the uncertainty around the Administration’s intent to fund CSRs. Florida announced an average 45 percent rate increase and Anthem Inc. recently announced it will exit Maine’s exchange. More than 80 percent of the 12 million people who enrolled in ACA plans for 2017 received subsidies to help them afford coverage.
Insurers stay in ACA markets despite fears of last minute departures
Yesterday was the deadline for insurers to inform the federal government if they were participating in the ACA exchanges in 2018. Most insurance companies previously on the fence filed to stay in the markets, with Cigna Corp., Molina Healthcare Inc., Highmark Health and Independence Blue Cross all deciding to offer plans in their regions.
Administration halts ACA outreach efforts
The Trump Administration has told the U.S. Health and Human Services Department’s (HHS) 10 regional directors not to participate in events promoting ACA open enrollment. Open enrollment in ACA health plans begins November 1. HHS withdrawing from events comes after the Administration cut this year’s open enrollment period in half and reduced funding for advertising and patient navigators. A key part of the ACA is educating consumers about the coverage available to them and encouraging young, healthy individuals to enroll.
Congress risks missing two major health program funding deadlines
Congress may miss two deadlines for health programs impacting millions of Americans, with funding for both programs set to expire this Saturday. The Senate has released a bipartisan five-year bill to reauthorize the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), but has yet to schedule a vote. A recent study from the Kaiser Family Foundation found that if CHIP is not reauthorized by its deadline, 10 states would run out of CHIP money by the end of this year. Additionally, billions of dollars to fund community health centers- a safety net for 26 million people- are also up in the air.
Problem Solvers Caucus pushes for stabilization
Democrats and Republicans in the 43-member House Problem Solvers Caucus are urging a bipartisan fix to improve stability of the insurance market and prevent a rise in next year’s premiums. The plan would include funding CSR payments, establishing a stability fund for states and repealing the tax on medical devices.
Bipartisan Medicare reform bill passes in the Senate
The Senate unanimously passed the CHRONIC Care Act Tuesday night. The bill includes programs that help people with Medicare Advantage policies manage their conditions and lower Medicare costs in the long run. The bill also expands an ACA program that provides care for seniors in their homes and expands the use of telehealth.
VA running out of money for private health care program
The Trump Administration announced that the private-sector Veterans Choice health care program may need additional money as early as December to avoid a disruption of care for hundreds of thousands of veterans. This statement comes after a veterans’ health initiative received $2 billion in emergency funding. A proposal for a long-term fix is expected to be released in the coming weeks.
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