Healthcare Reform News Update for August 1, 2017
If Trump Ends CSR Payments, Congress May Appropriate Funding
President Donald Trump is expected to decide early this week whether or not the administration will continue making cost-sharing reduction (CSR) payments. If he decides to end the payments, members of Congress have suggested that they might appropriate the funds.
- Senator John Thune (R-SD): “I hope the president will use his authority to extend those payments. He can do that. If he doesn’t, then Congress will have to look at what our options are.”
- Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-UT): “I think we’re going to have to [appropriate funds]…I’m for helping the poor, always have been. And I don’t think they should be bereft of healthcare.”
Republicans Rally Support for Graham-Cassidy Plan
A healthcare reform proposal suggested by senators Bill Cassidy (R-LA) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC) would give annual block grants to states, allowing each state to regulate healthcare as they see fit. States that expanded Medicaid are expected to be disadvantaged in the block grant proposal. The proposal would also:
- Force severe healthcare spending decreases
- Set new limits on Medicaid spending
- Endanger subsidies
Senators Cassidy, Graham, and Dean Heller (R-NV) met with Trump’s top aides Monday to discuss the proposal. The senators are trying to get the support of conservative colleagues Mike Lee (R-UT) and Mark Meadows (R-NC).
Senior GOP Senators Ready to Move Past Healthcare
Some Senate Republicans seem ready to move on to tax reform. During an interview with Reuters, Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT) said, “There’s just too much animosity, and we’re too divided on healthcare. I think we ought to acknowledge that we can come back to healthcare afterward, but we need to move ahead on tax reform.”
Senator Roy Blunt (R-MO) echoed Hatch’s sentiment during an interview with CNN: “If the question is, ‘should we stay on healthcare until we get it done,’ I think it’s time to move on to something else. Come back to healthcare when we have more time to get beyond the moment we are in. See if we can put some wins on the board.”
Additionally, Senator John Thune (R-SD) told reporters, “Until someone shows us how to get that elusive 50th vote, I think it’s over.”
Five Insurers Will Cover 19 ACA Counties in Ohio
Buckeye Health Plan, CareSource, Medical Mutual of Ohio, Molina Healthcare Inc., and Paramount Health Care have all agreed to expand into the Ohio marketplace. The expansions will cover 19 of the 20 counties (about 11,000 people) that were at risk of having no Affordable Care Act marketplace options in 2018. Ohio is still working to cover the remaining county with no coverage options.