Latest Morning Briefing Stories
A selection of opinions on health care from around the country.
“The direction I’m taking this is to give veterans more choice in their care,” Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin says. The issue is a hot-button topic for those involved in veterans’ advocacy.
The Trump administration is starting to roll back mandates on contraception coverage, but Massachusetts moved to protect the requirement, which came about from the Affordable Care Act.
The Washington Post investigates the ever-growing backlog for people seeking disability benefits.
Opinion writers analyze the controversy about the Senate Republican tax bill’s efforts to get rid of the federal health law’s requirement to have insurance or pay a fine and other concerns about the law.
Patients who do all the right things to go to an in-network hospital can still get stuck with thousands of dollars of surprise medical bills because the doctor treating them is out of network. The Houston Chronicle investigates why that is.
The Department of Veterans Affairs’ internal watchdog issues two reports, finding continued issues with the agency’s mental health care services and wait times at a clinic. And news of more problems is reported from Georgia and Colorado facilities. Meanwhile, an advocacy group runs ads critical of the VA’s use of dogs in experiments.
Although the standard Part B premium will stay the same next year, many beneficiaries will still have to pay more because their Social Security checks will increase 2 percent after several years of little or no cost-of-living raise. About 42 percent of recipients will see their premium jump to $134 from $109.
When President Donald Trump cut off subsidies to insurers he inadvertently may have boosted the very law he was trying to undermine. Meanwhile, House Democrats trying to bolster marketing for the health law are being thwarted by arcane rules.
“We don’t think many people would lose insurance if the mandate goes away,” said Deep Banerjee, an analyst at Standard & Poor’s. That runs counter to the hopes of Republican lawmakers, who are counting on a repeal of the mandate to free up billions in federal spending because the government won’t be subsidizing so many customers.
Media outlets report on news from California, Texas, Connecticut, Georgia, Florida, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Maryland, Hawaii, Ohio, Minnesota and Iowa.
More than 60 percent of respondents say they would point the fingers at President Donald Trump and Republicans in Congress, though the poll found a distinct partisan divide.
The increase in premiums stemming from the marketplace uncertainty have people considering reducing their income so they can qualify for government help. “If one word captures all this, it’s ‘helpless,”’ Ian Dixon said. “There’s rage and anger and all that stuff in there, too. Any reasonable person would agree that this should not be happening.”
Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) has been a crucial swing vote in the Senate this year, and looks to play a main role again in the tax debate. The House passed its version of the tax bill on Thursday.
Opinion writers question the policy rationale, math and impact involved as Congress considers a GOP plan to repeal the Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate as part of a Republican tax overhaul proposal. They also examine other health policy issues, including how rising health care costs cut into everyday American’s take-home pay and a program that involves unions and home health workers.
Media outlets report on news from California, Texas, Massachusetts, New York, Maryland, Ohio and Kansas.
The Affordable Care Act requires large companies to offer their employees affordable insurance or pay stiff tax penalties, but the IRS has held off on enforcing the provision.
One of the main goals of the measure is to reverse President Donald Trump’s decision to cut off cost-sharing payments to insurers. However, Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) says Democrats won’t support the bipartisan plan if the individual mandate repeal remains in the tax package.
Media outlets offer a look at what would happen to the Affordable Care Act exchanges if lawmakers include repeal of the individual mandate in their tax package. Meanwhile, Democrats seize on the turmoil as a way to get their base interested in the Republicans’ tax overhaul.
But with a small enrollment window, it’s too early to tell what the final numbers will look like.