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Latest Kaiser Health News Stories

A Decision On The Future Of The Health Law Is Poised To Drop Soon. This Is What’s On The Line.

KHN Morning Briefing

The 5th Circuit Court of Appeals could deem the health law unconstitutional in its ruling in Texas v. Azar, a decision that could come as early as this month. Although the Affordable Care Act will remain the law of the land for a while no matter what the court decides, it could throw some things — like enrollment numbers — into flux. Meanwhile, a new study shows the impact the health law has had on patients with diabetes.

Senate Democrats To Target Trump’s Expansion Of ‘Junk Insurance’ Plans

KHN Morning Briefing

The effort is part of Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer’s efforts to hit Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell for ignoring legislation passed by the Democratic House on health care, guns and other issues. Meanwhile, a new report finds that more states are taking control of their health law marketplaces.

Verma Pushes Back Against Dems’ Accusations That Uptick In Uninsured Rate Is Trump Administration’s Fault

KHN Morning Briefing

CMS Chief Seema Verma said that the true culprit is that high premiums that have priced out people who don’t qualify for subsidies. A closer look at the numbers, however, shows that immigrants’ fears over a Trump administration crackdown may lay at the heart of the increase. Hispanics were the only major racial and ethnic category with a significant increase in their uninsured rate.

Number Of Americans Without Insurance Rises For First Time In A Decade Amid Political War Over Health Law

KHN Morning Briefing

A Census Bureau report found that 8.5% of the U.S. population went without medical insurance for all of 2018, up from 7.9% in 2017. The growth in the ranks of the uninsured was particularly striking because the economy was doing well. The numbers give Democrats data to back up their pushback against Republican efforts to undermine the Affordable Care Act.

Verma Says Administration Is ‘Working On’ Plan To Replace Obamacare

KHN Morning Briefing

Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Administrator Seema Verma declined to give a timeline for the release of the plan when speaking to reporters. Other marketplace news includes estimates of the uninsured, enrollment figures from Florida and a look at where the Cadillac tax stands.

ACA Marketplaces See Drop Among Customers Who Don’t Qualify For Federal Subsidies

KHN Morning Briefing

From 2016 to 2018, 2.5 million people who were paying their entire Affordable Care Act premiums dropped out of the individual market. The administration says it’s a sign of Obamacare’s high prices, but supporters of the health law say it shows that Republican policies have undermined gains seen early in the law’s implementation.

Graham Vows A ‘Smart’ Health Law Repeal If Republicans Retake The House

KHN Morning Briefing

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) said his legislation would shift money from states that expanded Medicaid to ones that didn’t. “If we could get the money back to the states, Democratic policies would be tested against our policies,” Graham said. State insurance news comes out of North Carolina and Georgia, as well.

When It Comes To Patients With Short-Term ‘Junk’ Plans, Insurers Aren’t Spending Much On Medical Care

KHN Morning Briefing

The “loss ratios” can be as low as 9 cents for medical care for every dollar in premiums. “Compared to comprehensive plans that have to comply with the ACA’s rules, short-term plans’ coverage limitations often result in carriers paying out far fewer claims, or paying pennies on the dollar,” said Rachel Schwab, a research associate at Georgetown University’s Center on Health Insurance Reforms.

Growing Reliance On Charity, Crowd Funding To Pay For Medical Bills Means Stressed Patients, Inequities In Care

KHN Morning Briefing

The new trend of relying on those strategies for those who are underinsured ends up giving an advantage to those with more resources, larger social networks and stories better suited to dramatic online appeals. “We shouldn’t be the solution,” said GoFundMe Chairman Rob Solomon. “We know we’ve become a kind of de facto safety net.… But we’re only scratching the surface of all the need out there.”