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The Trump administration has opened the door, and some states are rushing in. Meanwhile, New Hampshire lawmakers are urged to renew the state’s Medicaid expansion.
Short-term policies are intended for people who are between jobs, and are generally cheaper than insurance that meets the law’s requirements. But they offer significantly less protection to consumers. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said people buying these plans could be “one diagnosis away from disaster, discovering they have been paying for coverage that may not cover basic care such as cancer treatment.”
The proposed deal would include work training requirements and for beneficiaries to contribute to their coverage. But Medicaid expansion was not included in the budget that the state’s Senate passed out of committee on Sunday.
California Attorney General Xavier Becerra sued the Trump administration in October challenging the new rules, saying the policy discriminated against women.
For those that don’t qualify for Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act, the requirement for insurance coverage can seem unfair. Meanwhile, the congressional spending deal raises doubts about what lawmakers are doing to control health costs that are only expected to get worse.
Facing questions from the Senate Finance Committee, HHS Secretary Alex Azar would not commit to stepping in to block Idaho’s move to allow insurers to sell plans that don’t meet the health law’s rules.
Some of those who adamantly opposed any action to shore up the marketplaces have reversed course in a politically charged year. Meanwhile, a new analysis by Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services actuaries shows that with the repeal of the individual mandate 37.7 million people will be uninsured by 2026.
Dean Cameron, director of the Idaho Department of Insurance, said that “dozens” of red states have already expressed interest in potentially emulating the state’s plan. But legal experts say they absolutely expect costly and time-consuming lawsuits over the move.
“Director [Mick] Mulvaney, tell me about the morality of a budget which supports tax breaks for billionaires, throws 32 million people off of the health insurance they have, resulting in the deaths of tens of thousands of fellow Americans,” said Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.). Meanwhile, the Office of Management and Budget chief caused confusion when he hinted at the same hearing that he wouldn’t vote for President Donald Trump’s budget if he were in Congress.
The health law imposes a penalty on employers with more than 50 workers who don’t provide qualifying coverage to employees, but the fines weren’t initially enforced. Meanwhile, Blue Cross of Idaho is taking the state up on its offer to sell coverage plans that don’t meet all the health law’s standards.
Gov. Scott Walker’s bill would authorize Wisconsin to seek a federal waiver to offer a reinsurance program to lower premium costs. Under the program, the government would provide money to health insurance providers to pay for between 50 percent and 80 percent of medical claims costing between $50,000 and $200,000.
This flu season has been vicious, leading to a high rate of deaths and hospitalizations. Second-grade teacher Heather Holland, of Texas, was one of those patients.
“The president’s budget makes investments and reforms that are vital to making our health and human services programs work for Americans and to sustaining them for future generations,” Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said in a statement.
From gutting safety net programs to funding the opioid epidemic battle, President Donald Trump’s budget includes a host of health issues. The proposed cuts released Monday are unlikely to come to pass, as Congress controls the purse strings, but the plan is a good blueprint of the administration’s priorities.
Opinion writers comment on these health issues and others.
States that run their own exchanges tend to want them to succeed so they invest time and energy into getting people to sign up. Meanwhile, the Trump administration approached the enrollment period as if the health law has failed. The enrollment numbers from the year reflect those different mentalities.
In the early hours of Friday morning the House passed a spending deal to very quickly reverse a government shutdown that was triggered at midnight. The bill includes many of the Democrats’ top health care priorities, but they had to compromise in some places as well.
Total signups slid by 3.7 percent, which was a much lower drop-off than most experts initially predicted. Meanwhile, states that ran their own exchanges far outperformed those that relied on the federal marketplace.
The two-year budget deal includes funding for community health centers, extends CHIP for a total of 10 years, funnels money into fighting the opioid epidemic and boosts the National Institutes of Health’s budget, among other things. Other areas of health industry are being targeted in order to pay for the package though. The Senate and House are both expected to vote on the proposed deal Thursday.
As other companies retreated from business related to the Affordable Care Act, Oscar Health swooped. In other news: former CMS official Andy Slavitt is launching a nonprofit to try to find solutions on high health care costs. And the Trump administration is reportedly set to release guidelines giving states more flexibility in their ACA marketplaces.