Republicans’ Preexisting Conditions Bills Offer Them Political Coverage–But Would They Actually Protect Patients?
Republican lawmakers introduced several bills they say protect the Affordable Care Act's popular provision prohibiting an insurer from denying coverage to a patient due to a preexisting condition. But the proposed measures are not nearly as comprehensive as the current health law. In other news: Farm Bureau coverage, curbing coverage price hikes, emergency room visits and accountable care organizations.
The New York Times:
Republicans Offer Health Care Bills To Protect Patients (And Themselves)
President Trump and Republicans in Congress say they are committed to protecting people with pre-existing medical conditions. But patients with cancer, diabetes and H.I.V., for example, would have significantly less protection under Republican proposals than under the Affordable Care Act. The proposals may provide some political cover for Republicans on an issue likely to figure prominently in the 2020 elections. But a close inspection of the Republican bills shows that their protections are undercut by a combination of imprecise language, explicit exceptions and “rules of construction” that explain how the legislation is to be interpreted. (Pear, 4/20)
CBO Changes How It Estimates Insurance Coverage
The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office will factor new consumer and employer preferences in its estimate of how proposed legislation will impact insurance coverage and premiums. The agency's new insurance model aims to address longstanding complaints from Republicans on how the CBO makes pivotal estimates on the impact of new legislation, especially surrounding the repeal of the Affordable Care Act. (King, 4/19)
The Associated Press:
Kansas To Let Farm Bureau Health Coverage Avoid ACA Rules
Kansas will allow its state Farm Bureau to offer health care coverage that doesn't satisfy the Affordable Care Act after Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly on Friday declined to block a Republican-backed effort to circumvent former President Barack Obama's signature health care law. Kelly allowed an insurance bill to become law without her signature, and it includes provisions that will exempt the bureau from state insurance regulations in the health care coverage it offers to its members. (Hanna, 4/19)
Frustrated By Health Insurance Price Hikes? Bill Would Allow Illinois To Restrict Them
In recent years, many Illinois consumers were socked with steep price increases when buying health insurance on the Obamacare exchange. A bill that’s gaining traction in Springfield, however, could prevent that. The bill would give the Illinois Department of Insurance the power to say no to certain sky-high price increases proposed by insurance companies for plans sold to individuals and small businesses. The bill wouldn’t apply to plans offered by large employers. (Schencker, 4/22)
ACA Has Not Reduced ED Visits, Study Finds
Emergency department visits have continued to rise even as more Americans gained health insurance after the Affordable Care Act came into play, according to a new study. ED visits increased by 2.3 million a year between 2006 and 2016, with the proportion of uninsured ED visits relatively unchanged from 2006 to 2013, making up between 14% and 16% of visits, the study published Friday in JAMA Network Open found. (Johnson, 4/19)
Next Generation ACO Participants For 2019 Drop To 41
There are 41 accountable care organizations in the CMS' Next Generation ACO Model for 2019, which represents a substantial decline from 2018 when 51 organizations were in the model. Data updated on CMS' site this week shows that 12 ACOs that participated in 2018 have either left or were booted from the program for the 2019 performance year. The latest exodus of participants comes after the model lost seven ACOs in March 2018, bringing the total number of participants in 2018 down from an initial 58 to 51. (Castellucci, 4/19)