Latest Morning Briefing Stories

Health Care Takes Back Seat To Foreign Policy, Gender Politics At Democratic Debate As Candidates Cover Well-Trodden Ground

KHN Morning Briefing

Although the domestic agenda was somewhat anchored by discussion of health care, the topic didn’t take center stage like at previous debates. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) focused on the cost of the status quo while moderates like Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) made the argument that debating “Medicare for All” is a pointless since many in Congress don’t support it.

Experts Debunk Trump’s Claims That He Saved Pre-Existing Conditions Coverage

KHN Morning Briefing

President Donald Trump defended his administration’s efforts to protect health coverage for Americans in response to presidential hopeful Michael Bloomberg’s ads, but fact checkers and other experts were quick to point out that Trump has gone to great lengths to weaken the health law and its popular provisions throughout his presidency. “That tweet is so far inconsistent with the direction of their policy push,” said Linda Blumberg, a health policy analyst at the Urban Institute. “It’s just astounding to me.”

Appeals Court Judges Seem Disinclined To Let Insurers Recoup Loses From Cut To Cost-Sharing Reduction Payments

KHN Morning Briefing

The federal government is arguing that insurers received increased subsidies when they raised premiums, which more than compensated their losses. Judges in the U.S. Court of Federal Claims have so far sided with insurers and ruled that their strategies to mitigate losses from CSR payments do not affect their eligibility for repayment. Meanwhile, states report their health law enrollment numbers.

Even In First Year Without Individual Mandate, Health Law Marketplaces Were Stable And Profitable, Analysis Finds

KHN Morning Briefing

A key measure of insurers’ financial strength — the percentage of premiums insurers collect that they pay back out in spending on claims — remained relatively strong. Experts say these numbers demonstrate resiliency within the marketplaces despite political turmoil surrounding the health law. Meanwhile, the Supreme Court set a Friday deadline for the Trump administration to respond to Democrats’ request to expedite the health law case.

Democrats Ask Supreme Court To Expedite Health Law Case That Otherwise Would Be Decided Post-2020 Elections

KHN Morning Briefing

An appeals court ruling kicked the case back down to the lower court for further work, which means it wouldn’t make its way to the Supreme Court until after the 2020 elections — during which health care is expected to be a major concern for many voters. By keeping the case front of mind for the public, the Democrats are trying to own what has proven to be a winning issue for them in the past.

If You Bought A Health Plan Through A State Exchange, Brace Yourself For A Separate Bill On Abortion Coverage

KHN Morning Briefing

The rule that insurers have to provide a separate bill to show the amount being spent on the abortion coverage they provide is deeply unpopular outside of the antiabortion movement due to the administrative burden it’s expected to cause. Abortion rights groups also condemn the rule, saying it will cause confusion and further stigmatize a legal form of health care. In other news on the health law: after three years in office President Donald Trump still hasn’t delivered a “replacement” law; and more.

In Aftermath Of Court Decision, Threat Of Political Headache For GOP Recedes As Fate Of Health Law Remains In Limbo

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Many questions remain following the appeals court’s decision to kick the case back down to a federal district judge, but the Affordable Care Act does remain intact for now. Meanwhile, Republicans get some political breathing room as they head into the 2020 elections because it’s unlikely the lawsuit will be in front of the Supreme Court anytime soon.

Biden And Sanders Clash Over Health Care, But For Most Part Topic Takes Back Seat In Last Debate Of 2019

KHN Morning Briefing

Former Vice President Joe Biden and Sen. Bernie Sanders’ (I-Vt.) exchange started out with some teasing, but escalated into shouting and interruptions as they touched on well-worn arguments about the status quo versus the costs of “Medicare for All.” Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) jumped in to redirect Sanders’ anger toward congressional Republicans instead of his rival candidates. But overall, health care played a much smaller role at the final debate of the year as “Medicare for All” sinks in popularity.

Court Decision Offers Republicans Some Political Breathing Room Heading Into Contentious 2020

KHN Morning Briefing

It’s a widely believed that attacking the health law — and its popular provisions that protect preexisting conditions — proved to be a political vulnerability for Republicans during the 2018 elections. Because the case has been kicked back down to the lower courts, that means a final decision on the law’s fate might not come until after the 2020 election cycle.