Healthcare Reform News Update for September 14, 2017
Trump Meets With House Bipartisan Committee on ACA Stabilization
President Donald Trump met with the House’s bipartisan Problem Solvers Caucus on Wednesday to discuss an Affordable Care Act stabilization plan that is similar to what is being considered by the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee.
Trump appeared “open” to the idea of a stabilization bill but did not make any commitments. He also did not commit to proposed cost-sharing reductions.
“He was clearly listening but he was not committal about what he was going to do,” Representative Peter Welch (D-VT) said of Trump.
GOP Rolls Out Latest Obamacare Repeal Bill
Senators Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Bill Cassidy (R-LA), Dean Heller (R-NV), and Ron Johnson (R-WI) released an Obamacare repeal bill on Wednesday. With only 17 days left to get the bill passed, it’s a last-shot effort to repeal and replace Obamacare before the expiration of fast-track procedural powers, which Republicans hope to use to bypass the threat of a Democratic filibuster.
Highlights of the bill:
- Block grants that will allow each state to define its own rules for health plans.
- An elimination of the ACA tax on medical devices.
- Americans won’t be required to carry insurance.
- Large employers won’t be required to offer health coverage.
- People with preexisting medical conditions will continue to be covered by insurers.
“It should have been our first bill to repeal and replace Obamacare, but it is now our last,” Graham said. “To those in the Republican Party who feel like we have not fought as hard as we could, you’re right.”
Trump Administration Working to Revamp Healthcare Regulations
The Trump administration is moving forward with plans to overturn major Obama-era healthcare rules and relax federal oversight over parts of the healthcare industry.
Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price and CMS Administrator Seema Verma have indicated their intentions, which include:
- Ending mandatory programs to make hospitals more accountable for their patients’ health.
- Slowing the transition to a system that pays doctors based on quality rather than quantity.
- Restoring nursing homes’ ability to require that patients pre-emptively give up their right to sue for negligence.
- Stopping Medicare’s move to a new medical equipment bidding program that would cut government payments to the industry.
Anthem, ConnectiCare Will Continue on Access Health CT Exchange
Anthem and ConnectiCare announced they will continue to sell policies on Connecticut’s Access Health CT exchange in 2018. However, the company will charge more for most policies. Anthem has been approved for a 31.7 percent increase on individual policies both on and off the exchange; ConnectiCare was approved for a 27.8 percent rate hike for individuals. Actual increases will vary.