GOP Lawmakers Show No Sign Of Backing Off Health Law Waivers Controversy
Even though the Obama administration decision to end health law exemptions for businesses and unions has now kicked in, Republicans say they will keep up their criticism. Politico Pro explores some of the questions that still surround this waiver program.
The Hill: Republicans Vow To Keep Controversy Over Health Reform Waivers Alive
GOP lawmakers want to make sure that health law waivers remain the gift that keeps on giving. Obama administration officials hope their decision to end controversial exemptions for businesses and unions this past week will mute the barrage of monthly criticism they've been getting for the past year. Don't hold your breath, Republicans say. "There is no end to the frustration and embarrassment that's going to come their way," said Rep. Michael Burgess (R-Texas). "I don't know that they've stopped the hemorrhaging from the waivers. I suspect that's going to continue to be litigated in legislation on the floor" (Pecquet, 9/25).
Politico Pro: Four Questions To Watch On Mini-Med Plans
Nearly 1,500 waivers later, the Obama administration's controversial effort to free some companies from the burdens of the new health care law is coming to an end. But the questions — and the controversy — are far from over. The waivers were supposed to help people who have "mini-med" health plans — bare-bones insurance plans that don't come anywhere close to the amount of coverage the health care reform law requires. The script seemed to be pretty much written: Those plans would end in 2014, and in the meantime, they'd get waivers so people wouldn't lose their coverage. Now, there are new questions being raised about these plans. Could they trip up young adults from getting the better health coverage they're supposed to get under the law? Who, exactly, is supposed to regulate them (Millman and Norman, 9/26).
In other health law implementation news, optimism exists on both sides of the aisle that a new initiative, the Independence at Home program, will lead to Medicare savings. Also, some parents and advocates fear that the health law could actually undermine health coverage for autism.
CQ HealthBeat: Some See Medicare Savings In Home Health Program, But Will CBO Agree?
Amid predictions that reducing the national debt will involve a grim exercise in cutting Medicare, there is hope — on both sides of the aisle — that a new initiative will actually save the program tens of billions of dollars a year. The optimism lies in the "Independence at Home" program to be launched Jan. 1. Created by the 2010 health care overhaul, the program could save money while also improving the lives of millions of frail elderly, say its advocates, which include Democrats Sen. Ron Wyden of Oregon and Rep. Edward J. Markey of Massachusetts and Republicans Sen. Richard M. Burr of North Carolina, and Reps. Christopher H. Smith of New Jersey and Michael C. Burgess of Texas. The program is designed to build on a model of care being used in some communities around the country in which small groups of doctors, nurse practitioners, and other support staff to come to the homes of very sick frail people and take care of them there (Reichard, 9/23).
Kaiser Health News: Parents Fear Health Law Could Derail Autism Coverage
Kaiser Health News staff writer Phil Galewitz, working in collaboration with The Washington Post, reports: "Autism treatment advocates have won one legislative battle after another since 2007, most recently in California, which sent a bill to the governor this month mandating that insurers cover the disorder. Now more than half the states have such requirements, but that success could be in jeopardy as federal officials set new national standards for health coverage" (Galewitz, 9/24).