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The Farm Bureau plans wouldn’t be required to cover people with preexisting conditions. While its coverage might work like health insurance, the measure, like the Iowa law enacted last year, declares that the coverage “shall not be considered insurance,” which would effectively exempt it from federal mandates and most state insurance regulations.
The Department of Veterans Affairs says that the expenses of Darin Selnick, a top adviser for the agency, are “standard for federal employees who travel periodically to implement their responsibilities.” But some veterans groups are less than pleased that Selnick, who has been a vocal critic of how the VA spends money, is being reimbursed for frequently commuting from California to Washington.
Once Democrats took control of the House, they petitioned the judge overseeing the health law case to join with Democratic state attorneys general in defending the ACA. Because the Trump administration joined the 20 GOP-led states in attacking the law, the House under Democratic control said it had a right to intervene.
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The short-term plans offer far less coverage than ones regulated under the Affordable Care Act. Although they have been subject to political bickering in the past, some Energy and Commerce Committee Republicans hinted that they might support consumer advisories for the coverage. The GOP lawmakers were less receptive to the other legislation aimed at shoring up the health law that was offered at the meeting–including a rule requiring the plans to disclose that they may not cover pre-existing conditions.
Although his posts dealt with a wide variety of issues, Dingell’s longtime devotion to improving health care was a frequent topic.
The shift in tone in the Council of Economic Advisers may reflect an acknowledgment that the Democrats successfully campaigned in the midterms on saving the health law.
“He had a long tradition of introducing legislation on the first day of each new Congress to guarantee health care for every single American,” former President Barack Obama wrote of former Rep. John Dingell (D-Mich.), who died Thursday. “Because of him, we’ve come closer to that vision than ever before. And when we finally achieve it — and we will — we’ll all owe him our gratitude.”
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Democrats say they have a mandate from the voters to protect preexisting conditions coverage and other popular provisions in the health law. Their new measures to shore up the ACA, which are in direct response to the Trump administration’s efforts to chip away at it, would likely die in the Republican-controlled Senate. But the move lets Democrats create talking points for the 2020 elections.
Much of the House’s legislative product will fall flat in the Senate, but it is likely to set the stage for the 2020 elections. “They want to show voters they can legislate, they can run the government, they can do the things they said they’re going to do,” said James Curry, an associate professor of political science.
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“In effect, the state proclaims that the sky is falling. But, falling acorns, even several of them, do not amount to a falling sky,” said Baltimore-based U.S. District Judge Ellen Hollander. Maryland had filed the case last year, asking a court to require President Donald Trump to continue to enforce the health law.
A major concern from state regulators is whether short-term plans are deceptively marketed to residents, a study finds. The plans offer fewer benefits than a plan sold on an ACA exchange and don’t cover pre-existing conditions, potentially leaving consumers with more out-of-pocket costs. Meanwhile, the Kansas Farm Bureau is petitioning lawmakers to essentially be given authority to develop and market health coverage free of state and federal oversight.
Congress and President Donald Trump are starting to wrestle with health policy issues, and health is already a key debate point in the early run-up to the 2020 Democratic presidential primaries. Might any major health policy legislation be passed and signed this year? Joanne Kenen of Politico, Anna Edney of Bloomberg News and Kimberly Leonard of The Washington Examiner, along with special guest Tom Miller of the American Enterprise Institute, join KHN’s Julie Rovner to discuss these issues and take questions from a live studio audience.
The federal decision to drop the mandate might be why there was a greater-than-expected drop off, officials said. California is considering adding a state mandate. Other news on the health law looks at the decline of employer-based coverage, problems when searching for insurance online, a push for Congress to keep advocating for the health law and more.
People looking for insurance during the recent open enrollment period were frequently directed to websites promoting plans that are not required to offer the federal health law’s consumer guarantees.
Even though the number of people renewing their Covered California health plans increased this year, new enrollment plunged by nearly a quarter compared with last year, posting a bigger drop than the federal health insurance exchange, healthcare.gov, which saw a 16 percent decrease. Officials largely blame the elimination of the federal tax penalty for people without insurance.
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Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle said they want to guarantee protections for people with preexisting conditions. Democrats called attention to the ways their Republican colleagues have chipped away at the health law — and thus those popular provisions — while GOP lawmakers countered that there are other ways to protect people. Many politicians see the issue as an important factor in the 2020 elections. In other news from Capitol Hill: surprise medical billing and Johnson&Johnson baby powder.