KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

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Bipartisan Coalition Of Experts Proposes Blueprint To Shore Up Fragile Marketplaces

The group, composed of prominent advisers to former Republican and Democratic presidents, began holding monthly meetings in January to search for points of agreement. Meanwhile, a study finds that the uncertainty from the Trump administration has triggered premium hikes and community organizations that help people enroll in health care through the Affordable Care Act are on edge about their funding.

The Washington Post: Bipartisan Health Policy Coalition Urges Congress To Strengthen The ACA
An unlikely coalition of liberal and conservative health-policy leaders is calling on Congress to strengthen the existing health-care law in a variety of ways to help Americans get and keep insurance. The group is urging the government, in particular, to continuing paying all the federal subsidies provided under the Affordable Care Act and to help Americans enroll in coverage. In a five-point set of principles issued Wednesday, the coalition lays out a potential bipartisan path forward after a Republican strategy to tilt federal health policies in more conservative directions failed in the Senate last month. (Goldstein, 8/9)

The Wall Street Journal: Health Experts Push Fix For Insurance Markets Aimed At Both Parties
The plan makes five primary recommendations. It encourages lawmakers to formally authorize the ACA’s “cost-sharing reduction” payments, which help insurers subsidize costs for some low-income consumers. It recommends Congress ensure funding for the popular Children’s Health Insurance Program, which is favored by members of both parties but has been floated as a vehicle to pass more contentious health reforms. The authors also endorse two GOP-backed ideas—expanding the use of health savings accounts and broadening the ACA’s state innovation waivers, to give states additional flexibility in administering their insurance markets. In exchange, they nod to a core priority for Democrats to have a mechanism that will entice more people to sign up for health insurance. (Hackman, 8/9)

The Associated Press: Study: Trump Actions Trigger Health Premium Hikes For 2018
The Trump administration's own actions are triggering double-digit premium increases on individual health insurance policies purchased by many consumers, a nonpartisan study has found. The analysis released Thursday by the Kaiser Family Foundation found that mixed signals from President Donald Trump have created uncertainty "far outside the norm," leading insurers to seek higher premium increases for 2018 than would otherwise have been the case. (Alonso-Zaldivar, 8/10)

The Hill: Insurers Cite Uncertainty In Filing ObamaCare Rate Hikes 
Insurers’ requests for premium increases in 2018 varied widely amid uncertainty surrounding how the Trump administration will implement ObamaCare, a new analysis finds. The Kaiser Family Foundation analyzed initial premium requests from 21 major cities, and found the rate requests ran the gamut from a 5 percent decrease in Providence, R.I., to a 49 percent increase in Wilmington, Del. (Roubein, 8/10)

The Wall Street Journal: Health ‘Navigators’ Brace For Decision On Their Funding
The Trump administration must decide within weeks whether to continue funding organizations that help people enroll in health insurance through the Affordable Care Act, one of several imminent choices that could signal the administration’s larger approach to the law. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services last year awarded $63 million in grants to nearly 100 community organizations that help people sign up for health plans under the 2010 law. The grants for these so-called “navigators” are set to run through September 2018, but the contracts specify that funding year-to-year would be contingent on their performance. (Hackman, 8/9)

And in other news —

The Fiscal Times: Heads Up: Healthcare Is Still In Trouble
The issue of the US health insurance system was taken off the front burner with the evident failure of the Republican effort to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. But while it may not be in the headlines as much as it once was, the health care system in the United States is still in need of serious attention. (Garver, 8/9)

Kansas City Star: Faith-Based Health Sharing Takes Off As Obamacare Costs Rise
As premiums and deductibles for individual health plans have increased under the Affordable Care Act — commonly called Obamacare — more people are turning to such ministries rather than buying traditional health insurance. The health sharing ministries are explicitly exempt from ACA requirements, so they can offer monthly dues that are lower than typical insurance premiums, especially for people who accept less coverage and more personal risk. (Marso, 8/9)

This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.