Healthcare Reform News Update for September 6, 2017
Several States Extend Obamacare Sign-Up Beyond Federal Limit
The District of Columbia and five states that run their own healthcare exchanges will extend their healthcare enrollment period beyond the new Trump administration deadline of December 15. California, Colorado, Minnesota, Washington, Massachusetts, and D.C. now have sign-up dates that run as far as mid-January.
State Insurance Commissioners in Center of Obamacare Debates
Several state insurance commissioners, who negotiate health insurance premiums and rates, will testify Wednesdaybefore the Senate health committee. The hearings will last four days, allowing insurance commissioners to discuss how to achieve market stability and ensure affordable healthcare.
Healthcare Reform News Update for September 5, 2017
GOP Ability to Dismantle ACA Expires Sept. 30
Senate Parliamentarian Elizabeth MacDonough has decided that the rules governing the effort to eliminate the Affordable Care Act will expire September 30. If Republicans don’t repeal the measure before this deadline, they must work together with Democrats to revise the law.
Tennessee Senator Sets Brief Timetable for Obamacare Fixes
Senate Health CommitteeCchairman Lamar Alexander (R-TN) hopes to pass a bipartisan Obamacare repair bill in only three weeks to help stabilize health insurance markets. Alexander’s bill would not fix everything; however, the senator anticipates a narrow bill that would give insurers selling coverage for next year some assurances.
States Offer Bipartisan Obamacare Model
State bipartisan efforts to fix and modify Obamacare have inspired members of Congress to focus more on how the law can be made to work better rather than simply repealing it. Representative Ed Clere (R-IN) said, “The fact is, Obamacare isn’t all good or all bad. It’s sweeping legislation that requires major ongoing work. … I hope someday there will be more appreciation for that.”
Healthcare Reform News Update for September 1, 2017
Feds to Cut 90% of Obamacare Advertising Funding
The federal government is decreasing the Obamacare advertising budget for the upcoming 2018 enrollment season by $90 million, senior officials with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced late Thursday. The budget will drop from $100 million to $10 million. Additionally, funding for navigator organizations, which help individuals enroll in coverage, will be cut nearly in half, going from $63 million to $37 million.
The funding cuts are drawing the ire of many Democrats. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) replied to the decision in a statement: “The Trump administration is deliberately attempting to sabotage our healthcare system. When the number of people with health insurance declines and costs skyrocket, the American people will know who’s to blame.”
Governors Release Proposal to Stabilize Marketplace
Led by John Kasich (R-OH) and John Hickenlooper (D-CO), a bipartisan group of governors released a proposalThursday that aims to stabilize the individual marketplace. The proposal recommends that Congress do the following.
- Take immediate federal action to stabilize markets by:
- Funding cost-sharing reduction (CSR) payments,
- Creating a temporary stability fund,
- Offering choices in underserved counties, and
- Keeping the individual mandate (for now).
- Create reforms that preserve recent coverage gains and control costs by:
- Maximizing market participation,
- Promoting appropriate enrollment,
- Stabilizing risk pools, and
- Reducing cost through coverage redesign.
- Have an active federal/state partnership that is based on innovation and a shared commitment to improve overall health system performance by:
- Improving the regulatory environment,
- Supporting state innovation waivers, and
- Controlling cost through payment innovation.
Senate Health Committee Adds Two More ACA Hearings
In addition to hearing from governors (Sept. 6) and state insurance officials (Sept. 6), the Senate Health Committee will also hear from health policy experts (Sept. 13) and stakeholders (Sept. 14). The goal of the hearings is to create a bipartisan healthcare reform bill.
Healthcare Reform News Update for August 29, 2017
Several House Dems Back This Single-Payer Healthcare Plan
Representative John Conyers (D-MI) has authored a single-payer healthcare plan that currently has support from 60 percent of House Democrats. The plan only has an outline of how to raise the funding needed for a single-payer system, which has caused Conyers to suggest the plan isn’t yet ready for a vote in Congress. Read more on Conyers’ plan here.
Governors Reach Agreement on Marketplace Stabilization Proposal
Governors John Kasich (R-OH) and John Hickenlooper (D-CO) announced Monday “that they have reached an agreement on a bipartisan proposal to stabilize Obamacare markets.” However, the proposal and its details have not been released.
Healthcare Reform News Update for August 28, 2017
All U.S. Counties Now Have at Least One Marketplace Option
The last county without a health insurance company in the individual marketplace is now covered. CareSource has agreed to offer marketplace plans in Paulding County, Ohio. CareSource CEO and President Pamela Morris said this about the company’s decision: “We want to be a resource to consumers left without options. Our decision to offer coverage in the bare counties speaks to our mission and commitment to the marketplace and serving those who are in need of healthcare coverage.”