How Much Muscle Is Behind HHS’ Power To ‘Scrutinize’ Rate Increases?
Politico examines HHS's ability to protect consumers from"unreasonable" premium increases. Meanwhile, The Hill reports on a study analyzing how many insurance plans should be allowed in state-based health exchanges.
Politico: Jawboning By HHS Doesn't Scare Insurers
The health reform law gave HHS the power to scrutinize "unreasonable" rate hikes in states that didn't have robust review programs. But "scrutiny" doesn't give the department power to actually block the rates from going into effect. HHS can use its bully pulpit to publicly shame insurers whose rates don't pass its sniff test – and HHS has done just that, holding four media calls since November to scold insurers each time it's made a new "unreasonable" determination. Faced with the choice of dealing with some negative press on the national stage or upending their business plan, the four insurers that have been dinged by HHS have all chosen to stick with the business plan (Millman, 5/8).
The Hill: Study: States Should Limit Number Of Plans In Exchanges
States should use their new insurance exchanges to narrow down the number of plans consumers can choose from, according to an analysis published in the journal Health Affairs. The article says states should follow Massachusetts's example as they create their exchanges. A hands-on exchange with the power to set standards on top of the federal healthcare law will help prevent consumers from being "overwhelmed" by the process of buying insurance, the authors wrote (Baker, 5/8).
Also in the news, what are the odds on the Supreme Court's health law decision -
Kaiser Health News: Capsules: These Health Law Bets Aren't A Figure Of Speech
The stakes are high in the Supreme Court's consideration of the 2010 health law, as countless commentators have observed. In some circles, however, the gambling metaphor has been pushed to its logical conclusion (Hancock, 5/8).
Georgia Health News: Analyzing The Future Of Health Reform Law
Fifty-fifty. Those are the odds given by a prominent Atlanta attorney that the Supreme Court will uphold the 2010 health reform law. He gives the same odds that the justices will strike down the Affordable Care Act (ACA) in its entirety or just its controversial mandate for most individuals to purchase health insurance (Miller, 5/9).