Latest Morning Briefing Stories

Long History Of Fraud And Shady Operators Linked To Association Health Plans Has Experts Worried

KHN Morning Briefing

As the Trump administration moves forward with its final rule allowing small businesses and self-employed workers ti get coverage through association health plans, fraud experts are concerned that the “unauthorized or bogus” plans that flooded the marketplace in the early 2000s will crop up again. Meanwhile, New York and Massachusetts will sue the federal government over the rule.

Trump Touts ‘Massive’ Savings From Association Health Plans, But Critics Still Say They’re Junk Insurance

KHN Morning Briefing

The Trump administration announced the finalized rule yesterday that would give small businesses access to insurance options like those available to large companies and let them skirt some of the health law’s requirements. While President Donald Trump said the rule will save people “massive amounts of money,” Democrats and others in the health industry say the insurance plans are “junk” and they will further destabilize the marketplace.

Trump Administration Poised To Unveil Final Rule On Association Health Plans

KHN Morning Briefing

The plans, which let small businesses and self-employed individuals band together for more affordable coverage, won’t have to meet all the strict regulations laid out by the Affordable Care Act. The Trump administration says they will help bring down premiums, but experts warn that they’ll siphon healthy people away from the exchanges.

Even If You Get Insurance Through Work, Trump Administration’s Pre-Existing Conditions Decision Could Still Effect You

KHN Morning Briefing

If the pre-existing conditions provision of the health law is stripped away by an upcoming court case — which the Justice Department announced last week it will not defend — it won’t just affect people who buy their health care on the health law marketplace. Meanwhile, a group of Democratic lawmakers are demanding more information on the administration’s decision, and candidates plan on using it as a talking point in the upcoming midterms.

‘This Is Like Some Kind Of Sick Joke’: Senators Get Fired Up Over Pre-Existing Conditions Provision At Azar Hearing

KHN Morning Briefing

Democratic lawmakers questioned HHS Secretary Alex Azar about why the Trump administration backed away from defending the health law’s provision that protects people with pre-existing conditions. Azar said the decision was driven by constitutional considerations not policy ones. Meanwhile, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) says that “everybody” he knows in the Senate wants to keep pre-existing conditions protections in place.

A Gift For Democrats? Moderate Republicans Cringe Over Trump Administration’s Health Law Decision

KHN Morning Briefing

The Justice Department’s announcement that it won’t defend the health law provision that protects people with pre-existing conditions hands a potentially powerful political weapon to the Democrats ahead of the midterm elections. Meanwhile, media outlets take a look at how the decision will affect the marketplace, and California Attorney General Xavier Becerra vows to redouble his energies defending the law.

‘Single-Payer’ May Be The Buzzword Du Jour, But Democrats Are Being Warned Not To Utter It On The Trail

KHN Morning Briefing

The issue is divisive within the party and also leaves progressive Democrats open for attack from Republicans claiming the candidates are supporting socialized medicine. Democrats are trying to hone their message to signal support for more universal health care while also avoiding the contentious phrase. Meanwhile, health care is found to be top of mind for voters as the midterm elections creep closer.

N.C. Farm Bureau Wants To Eschew Some Of Health Law’s Rules — And It Has A Blueprint To Follow

KHN Morning Briefing

The North Carolina Farm Bureau has looked to Iowa and Tennessee organizations to model their requests to skirt health law regulations. The bureau’s pitch to state lawmakers comes after the Trump administration in January proposed a rule to allow more small businesses and self-employed workers to band together to buy insurance through association health plans. Meanwhile, although there are some bright spots, it looks like premiums will skyrocket again next year.

Michigan’s Medicaid Work Requirement Advances On Expected Path To Approval

KHN Morning Briefing

The state is just the latest to move toward adding more restrictions to its program, something governors and legislatures are jumping on since CMS signaled its willingness to grant waivers. Medicaid news comes out of Virginia, Texas, Florida and Mississippi, as well.

California Voters Face Stark Ideological Choice Come The General Election

KHN Morning Briefing

The race for California governor was narrowed down to Democrat Gavin Newsom and Republican John Cox. The outcome of the race could both shape the fate of the Affordable Care Act in the state and influence whether Republicans in Washington take another shot at dismantling the landmark law. “For the Affordable Care Act, California is a bellwether state,” said David Blumenthal, president of the Commonwealth Fund.

Azar: ‘There’s Little We Can Do To Stop’ High Premium Increases

KHN Morning Briefing

HHS Secretary Alex Azar, while testifying to Congress Wednesday, defended the Trump administration from claims it was trying to sabotage the health law. Azar also said that President Donald Trump is taking steps to try to make coverage more affordable, such as extending short-term policies and allowing association health plans. The secretary spoke about Medicare, as well.