House Republicans Launch New Attacks On Health Law Regulations
The medical-loss ratio requirement is one of the prime GOP targets. Democrats responded that Republicans were trying to roll-back key consumer protections. In other health law implementation news, HHS announced new funding for community health centers, and groups interested in setting up health insurance co-ops are seeking certain HHS "tweaks" in the regulations.
Modern Healthcare: GOP Lawmakers Take Aim At Reform Law Regulations
House Republicans on Thursday returned to the familiar topic of repealing the health care reform law as a House Energy and Commerce Health Subcommittee hearing examined the statute's grandfathered-plan and medical-loss-ratio regulations. Rep. Joe Pitts (R-Pa.) cited estimates from the Obama administration that 49 percent to 80 percent of small-employer plans, 34 percent to 64 percent of large-employer plans and 40 percent to 67 percent of individual insurance plans will not be grandfathered by the end of 2013 — despite statements from President Barack Obama that those who like their plans can keep them (Zigmond, 9/15).
CQ HealthBeat: House GOP Launches New Attack Against Health Care Law
House Republicans opened the latest front in their campaign against the 2010 health care overhaul Thursday, touting legislation that would exempt all health plans in existence before the law's passage. At a hearing of the Energy and Commerce Committee's health panel, Republicans said the draft legislation would ensure that Americans can keep their existing health care plans as President Obama repeatedly promised during the debate over the far-reaching changes to the system. The measure is part of a GOP regulatory rollback outlined by House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., in August. Republicans are also pushing a measure that would repeal the law's requirement that insurance companies spend at least 80 percent of their revenue from premiums on medical care and not administrative costs, a standard known as the medical loss ratio (MLR) (Ethridge, 9/15).
Politico Pro: New Health Battle: Which Plans To Exempt?
The latest focus of GOP efforts to dismantle the Affordable Care Act is an attempt to throw one of President Barack Obama's main health reform promises back at him: If people like their health plans, they can keep them. House Republicans say repealing the health reform law's regulations for "grandfathered" health plans will help fulfill Obama’s promise. But Democrats don't see it that way. They say the a draft bill presented by Republicans on the Energy and Commerce Health Subcommittee Thursday would deal a crushing blow to the ACA by undermining many of its new consumer protections (Millman, 9/15).
The Hill: Dems Defend Regulations As GOP Attacks Health Care Law
House Republicans honed in on two regulations under the health care law Thursday as Democrats charged that the GOP would roll back important consumer protections. Republicans on the Energy and Commerce health subcommittee said regulations on grandfathered plans undercut President Obama's promise that people can keep their existing health care plans if they want to. Plans that were in place when the law took effect are exempt from some its requirements, but if the plans make big enough changes, they're considered new plans and lose their exemption (Baker, 9/15).
McClatchy: Kansas, Oklahoma Lawmakers Want Rejected Health Funds To Go Toward Deficit
Rep. Mike Pompeo had no problem with his state sending back a $31.5 million federal grant that would have helped put the new federal health care law in place. But the Kansas Republican introduced legislation Wednesday that would ensure that the rejected dollars can be used by Washington only to reduce the nation's deficit (Goldstein, 9/15).
Modern Healthcare: $10 Million Marked For New Community Health Centers
HHS on Thursday announced a total of $10 million in funding that will be awarded to 129 community organizations nationwide to help them establish new community health centers. The funding from the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act will be given to seven organizations that focus traditionally on tribal and urban Native American health, five groups that focus on mental-health services, four that center on HIV/AIDS services, three geared toward faith-based initiatives, and one senior center to help these groups develop a comprehensive primary-care health center (Zigmond, 9/15).
Politico Pro: CO-OP Groups Seek To Boost Odds Of Success
Groups trying to set up cooperative health plans are asking HHS to tweak the rules governing the $3.8 billion program so that the startups will be able to better compete with entrenched insurers. HHS's proposed rule governing Consumer Owned and Oriented Plans was issued in July and comments are due Friday. The rule was developed with extensive input from an advisory board that was widely praised, but CO-OP sponsors would still like some modifications (Norman, 9/16).
ProPublica: Health Care Reform Rules Would Restrict Public Reporting
The rules being developed by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) propose restricting the release of Medicare billing data to "qualified entities." To qualify, a group would have to: Pay up to $200,000 for the data. Have its methods pre-approved before obtaining the data. Already possess billing information from other sources to combine with the Medicare data — an advantage to insurance companies. ... Medicare officials declined to discuss the proposed rules because they are being finalized (Allen, 9/15).