Specter Of Lifetime Caps Returns As Health Law’s Protections Are Considered For Chopping Block
Those with chronic illnesses are concerned the plan to replace the Affordable Care Act will bring back lifetime caps. In other health law news: the Cadillac tax; the implications of repeal on science; health care stocks; and the president's claim that 20 million Americans have taken a tax penalty instead of buying coverage.
USA Today/Nashville Tennessean:
Lifetime Health Insurance Caps Worry Those Facing Chronic Illness
Many young adults who have come of age under the Affordable Care Act may not know there once were lifetime caps on how much an insurer would pay to treat them. Those lifetime limits were "one of those things in the fine print of your insurance plan," said John Graves, professor of health policy at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. "They don’t go out there and advertise these things.” (Fletcher, 3/2)
Employers Gear Up For Next Fight After Cadillac Tax
Employer and business groups are shifting their lobbying efforts from repealing the Affordable Care Act's unpopular “Cadillac” tax to fighting GOP proposals to chip away at the tax break on employer-provided health insurance. Capping the tax break, they say, would cause employers to offer skimpier benefits, and some would stop offering coverage altogether. That would erode the employer-sponsored health insurance market, where 178 million Americans get their health coverage. (Livingston, 3/2)
Science Could Suffer If Obamacare Protections Are Weakened
Scientists and tech experts are worried about an unanticipated casualty of Obamacare repeal: weaker innovation. More and more Americans have been confidently enrolling in clinical trials and using data-generating smartphone apps — for research and personal use — over the past eight years. But questions now arising about whether an Affordable Care Act replacement will maintain strong protection for people with pre-existing conditions risks dampening research and technology. (Tahir, 3/2)
Healthcare Investors Grapple With Trump’s Obamacare Reforms
While the wider US stock market has moved steadily upwards since the election, setting many highs, the performance of healthcare stocks has been bumpy. For investors in US healthcare industry spanning insurers to hospital operators — recent weeks have been spent trying to decipher how the broad brushstrokes of reform pitched by Mr Trump and Republican legislators might actually morph into law.
The Washington Post Fact Checker:
Trump’s Fishy Suggestion That Nearly 20 Million Are Paying An Obamacare Penalty
“It has gotten so bad that nearly 20 million Americans have chosen to pay the penalty or received an exemption rather than buy insurance. That’s something that nobody has ever heard of or thought could happen, and they’re actually doing that rather than being forced to buy insurance," President Trump remarks in a meeting with health insurance executives. This number struck us as a bit curious when President Trump launched into one of his standard attacks on the Affordable Care Act, a.k.a. Obamacare, as he met with representatives of the health-insurance industry. Are 20 million Americans actually refusing to buy health insurance and instead pay a penalty? (Kessler, 3/2)
Meanwhile, in the states —
The Associated Press:
GOP Health Plan Could Cost Minnesota Billions
Minnesota officials are bracing for billions of dollars in additional health care expenses if congressional Republicans enact a plan they’re discussing to replace the Affordable Care Act, according to a draft document obtained by The Associated Press. The planning document shows that the GOP proposal, a draft of which was circulated last week, would cut $1.3 billion next year from the state’s low-income health care program that covers roughly one-sixth of its 5.5 million residents. By 2021, the losses would accumulate to more than $5 billion, eventually costing the state $6 billion a year starting in 2029. That analysis was prepared by the state’s Department of Human Services, which runs those programs. (Potter, 3/2)
Jackson Nurses, Doctors Rally With Patients To Save Obamacare
Doctors and nurses at Jackson Memorial Hospital joined a group of civic activists and patients in Miami on Thursday to advocate for Congress to preserve the health insurance coverage gains made by an estimated 1.5 million Floridians under the Affordable Care Act. Standing before a tour bus covered in an image of a hospital emergency room and the words, “Save My Care,” Tom Masterson, a physician and urology resident at Jackson Memorial, said that uninsured patients continue to overwhelm Miami-Dade’s safety net healthcare system. (Chang, 3/2)
Could Obamacare Repeal Take Away Health Benefits For Georgia Seniors?
The ongoing battle in Washington over how and when to repeal the Affordable Care Act -- and perhaps more importantly what to replace it with -- has focused largely on the future of the law’s insurance exchanges and state Medicaid expansions. But what has been little talked about is how gutting the health care law could affect the more than 55 million Americans -- including 1.5 million Georgians -- with Medicare. (Williams, 3/2)