Healthcare Reform News Update for September 29, 2017
Bipartisan Healthcare Deal Nears Finalization
On Wednesday, Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-TN) and ranking member Patty Murray (D-WA) moved toward a plan to stabilize Obamacare in the short term.
The deal would help individuals who buy health insurance plans on federal and state exchanges by stabilizing the market. Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer said the action was nearly complete. “They both inform me that they’re on the verge of an agreement, a bipartisan healthcare agreement to stabilize markets and lower premiums,” Schumer said.
GOP Vows Continued Fight for Repeal
Senators Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Bill Cassidy (R-LA) said Thursday that they would continue their efforts to pass legislation to repeal the Affordable Care Act.
After their healthcare bill failed to get enough votes to pass this week, the pair met with President Donald Trump to discuss healthcare and stated that they were “… committed to holding congressional hearings and working with our nation’s governors who believe returning power to states is a vast improvement over Obamacare.”
Healthcare Reform News Update for September 28, 2017
Trump Plans Executive Action on Interstate Healthcare Sales
President Donald Trump said Wednesday that he could sign an executive order as soon as next week to allow insurers to sell health plans across state lines and make it easier for individual consumers to buy coverage as a group.
Republicans have sought to give insurers leeway to sell policies to consumers in a state where they aren’t licensed; such policies would only need to meet the insurer’s home-state regulations.
Mike Consedine, CEO of the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, said his group won’t comment on Trump’s order until it sees details, but, “as a general matter, health insurers already have the ability to sell insurance in multiple states as long as they comply with state consumer protection and licensing laws, which many already do. The NAIC has long been opposed to any attempt to reduce or preempt state authority or weaken consumer protections.”
Healthcare Reform News Update for September 27, 2017
Marketplace Instability Will Impact Insurance Premiums
Insurers must decide by today whether to sign contracts to sell coverage in the Obamacare marketplace for 2018. But the failure of the Graham-Cassidy repeal bill and slowdown on bipartisan attempts to stabilize the market will most likely cause insurers to raise premiums by an average of 15 percent, with some states seeing even higher increases.
Medicare Reform Bill Passes in Senate
On Tuesday, the Senate unanimously passed the CHRONIC Care Act, a bill that would make changes to Medicare payment policies aiming to lower overall costs and improve care for people with chronic health conditions.
Some of the proposals in the bill include:
- Expanding and extending the Independence at Home (IAH) program.
- Improving the flexibility of Medicare Advantage through value-based insurance design, special needs plans, and expanded supplemental benefits.
- Improving efficiencies of Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs).
- Expanding access to telehealth services.
The bipartisan bill was introduced last year from a group led by Senators Mark Warner (D-VA) and Johnny Isakson (R-GA).
Bipartisan Healthcare Stabilization Talks May Resume
Last week, Senate Health Committee Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-TN) suspended bipartisan negotiations on stabilizing the healthcare marketplace. But on Tuesday, he said he would work to revive the effort.
Alexander said: “I will consult with Senator [Patty] Murray [D-Wash.] and with other senators … to see if senators can find consensus on a limited bipartisan plan that could be enacted into law to help lower premiums and make insurance available to the 18 million Americans in the individual market in 2018 and 2019.”
Healthcare Reform News Update for September 26, 2017
GOP Lacks Votes to Pass Obamacare Repeal Bill
Senator Susan Collins (R-ME) announced Monday that she would oppose the GOP’s last attempt to repeal Obamacare. The move ensured that Republicans would not have the votes they need to pass the Graham-Cassidy bill.
Also on Monday, the Congressional Budget Office said its preliminary analysis of the bill showed that it would reduce the number of insured by millions.
Senate Republicans are set to meet today on whether to try to open debate on healthcare again.