States’ Experimental Initiatives To Bring Down Health Costs Could Worsen Geographical Disparities
The divided Congress is unlikely to move the ball forward on health care in the next two years, so major policy changes may come from the states. But that could create a landscape where health care differs greatly from state to state, like in the days before the Affordable Care Act.
State Policy Experimentation Could Create Uncertainty For Providers
The coming year will be one of state health policy experimentation that could lead to even wider healthcare disparities across the country. State initiatives could drive larger differences in insurance coverage rates, access to care and consumer protections. States already vary widely in their uninsured rates, ranging from 2.8% in Massachusetts to 17.3% in Texas in 2017, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. (Meyer, 1/5)
Healthcare In 2019: Divided
Year one of a divided government in the Trump era begins with the Affordable Care Act again in legal peril. Political rhetoric around the law and healthcare generally will only intensify in the lead-up to the 2020 election cycle, but the industry is most closely watching how the administration will use executive authority to try to beat down soaring costs. A Texas judge's decision to overturn the ACA closed out a year where, despite congressional gridlock on healthcare, the Trump administration gained ground on systemic attempts to trim hospital payments and pharmaceutical prices, as well as reshape insurance markets. (Luthi, 1/5)
Dallas Morning News:
Fewer Texans Enrolled In The Affordable Care Act This Year, But Dip Was Lower Than Some Expected
A little over 1 million Texans will be covered under the Affordable Care Act this year, a slight drop from 2018. During the six-week sign-up period on HealthCare.gov, 1,089,636 Texans enrolled, down from 1,126,838 last year. Nationally, enrollment fell about 300,000 to 8.5 million. The administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, Seema Verma, credited the Trump administration with taking steps to promote a more stable and competitive health insurance market. She said the enrollment numbers showed the administration’s efforts were working. (Stone, 1/5)
The Star Tribune:
Affordable Care Act's Fate Worries Many In Minn.
Affordable health insurance has been the difference between having a life and just scraping by for Bruce Ario, a Minneapolis man with schizophrenia and diabetes. A low-income worker who supervises mailrooms for two federal agencies, he was spending $1,000 a month for medical coverage before Congress passed the Affordable Care Act in 2010. Today he pays $300. (Olson and Howatt, 1/6)