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Healthcare Reform News Update for May 22, 2017

Healthcare Reform News Update for May 22, 2017

Will the CSR Subsidy Payment Case Continue, Drop, or Stall?

The administration has to make a decision today about the ongoing court case regarding cost-sharing reductions (CSRs), mainly whether or not it will continue to fight in favor of the payments. President Trump has said he wants to end the payments, but a number of his advisers are opposed to that idea.

Rather than supporting or dropping the payments, the administration and House also have the option of asking for a 3-month hold on the case.

Planned Budget Reduction Includes $800 Billion Cut from Medicaid

President Trump’s upcoming budget cuts are expected to include an $800 billion cut from the Medicaid program. “The $800 billion reduction … assumes that the GOP health care bill that the House passed earlier this month would become law.”

Other programs, like the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), are also expected to see cuts as a result of the planned budget reduction.

Healthcare Reform News Update for May 19, 2017

The House Hasn’t Officially Handed Off the AHCA to the Senate

Despite not publically announcing plans to hold onto its healthcare reform bill, the House has not officially delivered the American Health Care Act to the Senate. The House decided to hold onto the bill out of caution, waiting to see if last-minute revisions still meet reconciliation rules.

The Congressional Budget Office’s (CBO) estimates must prove that the AHCA will reduce spending by at least $2 billion. If it does not, the AHCA will not meet the reconciliation rules the House used to pass the bill by a simple majority. Republicans would have to revise their bill and vote on it again.

Democratic Attorneys General Seek to Intervene in Ongoing CSR Case

A group of Democratic attorneys general want to intervene in the ongoing lawsuit against cost-sharing reduction subsidies (CSRs). Arguing that the administration is not defending CSRs strongly enough, at least 15 attorneys general are looking to take up the defense.

In their motion, the attorneys general wrote, “The States [that the attorneys general represent] have a vital interest in this litigation. If the district court’s injunction goes into effect, it would critically undermine the proper implementation of the ACA—just as the House, and now the President, intend. Immediate loss of CSR funding, with any future funding subject to the myriad uncertainties of the appropriations process, would harm millions of state residents and the States themselves. Those harms amply justify intervention.”

Senate Finance Committee Passes Legislation to Improve Medicare for Chronically Ill Patients

On Thursday, the Senate Finance Committee unanimously approved Medicare legislation in order to improve care for patients with chronic illnesses. The bipartisan bill “is aimed at reducing costs associated with chronic illness by giving people greater access to telehealth services, promoting care coordination between providers, and expanding value-based payment models.”

Bipartisan Amendment Aims to ‘Curb Abusive Drug Pricing’

A bipartisan amendment “aiming to curb abusive drug pricing on pharmaceuticals without generic competition” was added to the FDA user fee reauthorization bill as it was approved on Thursday. The amendment “offers a six-month exclusive rights period [to] generic manufacturers who choose to compete against an off-patent drug that currently has no competition.”

Healthcare Reform News Update for May 18, 2017

Individuals Will Be Able to Buy ACA-approved Health Plans Without

Wednesday, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services announced plans for an enrollment change for individualspurchasing health insurance approved by the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Rather than having to use, an individual can purchase an approved plan directly through an agent, broker, or health insurance company’s website.

The motivation of this announcement, according to Seema Verma, is to make shopping for coverage as simple and easy as possible. Eliminating the step of using could increase the use of agents and brokers, who tend to allow consumers to “get the most appropriate coverage.”

Senate May Consider a Short-Term Healthcare Package

Insurance companies have to decide whether or not to participate in Obamacare (ACA) exchanges by June 21. With no expectation that a full healthcare reform bill will be finished in the next month, the Senate may consider passing short-term market stabilization bills. A bill has already been introduced that would allow individuals with no marketplace options to use subsidies to buy plans outside of the exchange.

Republican Governors Create Healthcare Reform Proposal

Around a dozen governors crafted a healthcare reform proposal (9 pages) in February. The group is using that proposal to influence the Senate to adopt what they think an Obamacare (ACA) replacement bill should entail. Their proposal recommends maintaining Medicaid expansion “while also limiting federal spending for certain populations.”

The group of governors is also trying to form a bipartisan partnership with multiple states to propose individual insurance market reforms.

State Insurance Departments Release Early Insurance Rate Increase Requests

Five states and the District of Columbia have now released rate increase requests for 2018 Obamacare plans. Within those states, the lowest rate increase is 6.7% and the highest jumps to 54.3%

Connecticut Lowest: 15.2% Highest: 33.8%
D.C. Lowest: 13% Highest: 39.6%
Maryland Lowest: 9.1% Highest: 53.4%
Oregon Lowest: 6.9% Highest: 21.8%
Vermont Lowest: 6.7% Highest: 12.7%
Virginia Lowest: 9.8% 54.3%

New York State Assembly Passes Single-Payer Healthcare Bill

single-payer healthcare bill was passed Tuesday by New York’s state Assembly. The bill provides universal coverage to all state residents, paid for with a “progressive payroll tax and levies on non-earned income, such as capital gains.” While one economist suggests the bill could save New York $45 billion in the first year, another suggests the bill would need $226 billion in increased tax revenue. The bill is now in the hands of the Republican-controlled New York Senate.

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