Latest Morning Briefing Stories
The Washington Post Fact Checker takes a deep dive into the “Medicare for All” cost analysis offered by experts and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.). Critics continue to focus on the assumptions — such as getting hospitals accepting near-Medicare rates from all patients — that the proposal relies on. If those fall apart, so does the plan.
The administrators of Lauren Bard’s health plan assured her three days after the early birth of her daughter that the baby was covered. But she didn’t realize she would need to be enrolled through the website within 31 days of the birth.
“Facing a likely risk of being separated from their family members and a delay in obtaining a visa to which family members would otherwise be entitled is irreparable harm,” wrote Judge Michael Simon in U.S. District Court in Portland, Oregon of the Trump administration’s policy that would require new immigrants to show proof of health insurance or the means to afford it.
Meanwhile, Trump administration officials tell consumers that they’re working to smooth out website glitches from the first day of open enrollment.
Democratic rivals, conservatives and some analysts sounded off about Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s plan to pay for “Medicare for All.” Much of the criticism about the proposal centered around accusations that it’s not realistic when the starting point is the country’s current health care landscape.
Many jobs that are “quintessential Montana jobs” are seasonal, with income ebbing and flowing throughout the year. But Montana is one of a number of states looking to implement Medicaid work requirements that could ask beneficiaries to report their work hours in a far more regulated way. Medicaid news comes out of North Carolina, Georgia, Texas and Massachusetts, as well.
The Trump administration gave scant detail about how new requirements that immigrants prove they can pay for insurance would be implemented beyond a bullet-point list of the types of plans that would be accepted. This has left many facing a system that is complicated and confusing at the best of times. Other immigration news focuses on conditions at detention facilities and a new acting secretary for DHS.
The companies were selling plans under the rules that allow health sharing ministries to help members share costs between themselves. But regulators say they didn’t meet the requirements to be eligible for that exemption to the health law.
Medicare enrollment can be daunting, but in the midst of open enrollment for the program, media outlets offer suggestions on how to make the most of the program.
Open enrollment opens Friday and ends Dec. 15 for the 38 states that use healthcare.gov. The remaining states manage their own platforms, and some have deadlines that stretch into January.
Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) released her plan for “Medicare for All” Friday, after facing criticism for not detailing how she would pay for the overhaul to the health system. It would require the federal government to absorb $20.5 trillion in new spending, but Warren says that the middle class will not see “one penny” in tax hikes. She plans to carry over almost all existing health funding from employers and state governments while also levying a variety of new taxes on the rich, corporations and high-earning investors — including doubling her signature wealth tax on billionaires.
The proposal Georgia submitted is designed to make coverage less expensive, with more competition among insurers and fewer enrollment snags. Georgia residents could bypass Healthcare.gov and sign up for insurance directly through an insurance provider or broker website. Thirteen states have had this type of 1332 waiver approved by the federal government.
Indiana and Arizona — both with Republican governors — are the first states to voluntarily take step that three other states were forced to take through court orders. Many advocates had been vocal in their warnings that many people would lose coverage if Medicaid work requirements are put into place, but the Trump administration has been allowing states to move in that direction.
“Can’t we figure out a simpler way so that people who are eligible can get into these programs?” Sen. Benjamin Cardin (D-Md.) said during a Senate Finance Committee’s healthcare subcommittee. Republicans are worried about waste in the program. Other Medicaid news comes form Texas, Ohio and Michigan as well.
“Congress makes laws, the president executes them. This is an egregious attempt to supersede and overturn congressional will, not only in the immigration realm but in the health care realm,” said Jesse Bless, director of federal litigation at the American Immigration Lawyers Association who helped file the case.
Health care was a winning issue in the 2018 midterms, helping the Democrats re-take the House. But now Democratic candidates fighting for competitive seats worry that, should one of the supporters of Medicare for All be the presidential candidate, they’ll be painted with the same brush as the person at the top of the ticket. Meanwhile, the issue of funding such a single-payer plan continues to dominate the conversation on the election trail.
All signs point to the marketplaces finding stable footing after the tumultuous first years. Not only have premiums moderated, but more insurers are returning to the marketplace with an eye on profitability. But pending legislation on the constitutionality of the law could throw the markets for a loop once again. Open enrollment kicks off on Friday. Meanwhile, Senate Democrats failed to pass a mostly symbolic proposal that would have blocked Trump administration efforts to chip away at the health law.
The United Mine Workers of America multi-employer pension plan is projected to become insolvent in the early part of the next decade, and Murray Energy, which filed for bankruptcy Tuesday, is the last major contributor to the fund. Coverage for coal miners has been a hot-button topic as cases of black lung climb.
“There’s been a lot of concern about people getting off the rolls with this or lowering services or taking money away,” Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee said. “That isn’t the intent at all of the block grant proposal. It’s to actually increase services and funding for our TennCare population.” Conservatives have long pushed for states to move toward block grants, but advocates worry people will lose coverage. Medicaid news comes out of Ohio, as well.
Humana spokeswoman Kate Marx stated the company began evaluating its “work and cost structure” this year but didn’t say where cuts will be made. Other news on the health industry and systems looks at: hospices, acquisitions, hospitals, new clinics, and more.