Latest Morning Briefing Stories
Rep. Greg Walden (R-Ore.) played a key role in the Republicans’ efforts to repeal and replace the health law when they had control of the House.
The Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, a nonprofit organization concerned with budget deficits, provided several options that each could raise the revenue needed to pay for Medicare for All, including a payroll tax increase and mandatory premiums. The issue has become a main focus in the 2020 Democratic primaries.
Media outlets report on news from Florida, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, North Carolina, Missouri, Minnesota, Oregon, California, Washington, Georgia and Texas.
Opinion writers focus on finding ways to improve health care.
Republican candidate Eddie Rispone has said he won’t roll back the expansion that’s been a key part of Gov. John Bel Edwards’ tenure, but he would “freeze” it. Medicaid news comes out of Ohio, Arkansas, Nebraska, Pennsylvania and New York.
The answer to that could be politically tricky for Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.). Progressive rival Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) says he’d pay for such a move with a tax increase for the middle class. If Warren follows that path, it could put off some voters. Meanwhile, South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg maintains he never supported a “Medicare for All” plan that would end the option for private insurance.
Twenty more insurers are joining the federal exchanges and the average premium for the benchmark plan will drop by 4% next year in the 38 states using the federal Obamacare exchanges. While the Trump administration credits its own efforts, health experts were quick to push back on that, saying instead that the marketplace is stronger because insurers have raised rates high enough in recent years to make selling plans on the exchanges a profitable businesses.
CMS Administrator Seema Verma faced a hostile House Energy and Commerce Committee and defended the Trump administration’s action on health care. However, she wouldn’t give specifics on a plan for what happens if the Affordable Care Act is ruled unconstitutional. Meanwhile, some states are crafting contingency plans in case the health law falls.
The ruling on the law’s constitutionality, expected in the next few weeks, could reignite the same concerns that helped propel Democrats into taking back the House in the 2018 midterm elections. It would also possibly let the Democrats re-frame their messaging, which has been centered on pro- or anti-“Medicare for All,” a plan that’s losing popularity in the polls.
Judge Reed O’Connor for the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas is the same federal judge who last year ruled that the entire 2010 health care law was invalid. The decision is likely to be appealed, as O’Connor also ruled that the American Civil Liberties Union and River City Gender Alliance could intervene in the case.
The Urban Institute researchers evaluated six different levels of change that would build on the groundwork laid by the ACA.The options include two that they say could achieve universal health coverage. Both rely heavily on boosting subsidies.
The latest Democratic debate on Tuesday night highlighted the rising popularity of Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) in the polls as many of her rivals went on the attack. Most notably South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg, who struck a more aggressive tone than in previous debates, and Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), who is fighting for her place in the 2020 presidential race, had sharp words for the scope of Warren’s health plans. “I don’t understand why you believe the only way to deliver affordable coverage is to obliterate private plans,” Buttigieg said. Klobuchar joined in with, “At least Bernie’s being honest here and saying how he’s going to pay for this, and that taxes are going to go up.”
NPR looks at the five biggest changes made beneath the Trump administration, including the zeroing out of the individual mandate and allowing the addition of work requirements to some states’ Medicaid programs.
While much of the health campaigning in the primaries has focused on how the different candidates will ensure health care coverage, there’s large swaths of the cost conversation that haven’t been touched — such as hospital spending, health care deserts and even decisions over drug development. Abortion, as well, has been one of the least talked about topics in the previous debates. Will that change at Tuesday night’s debate in Ohio when 12 Democratic presidential candidates take the stage?
The rule that has sparked fierce pushback would allow immigration officials to consider whether a person is using federal aid programs, such as Medicaid, when deciding on their green card eligibility. While three separate judges ruled against the policy, many expect it to eventually land in front of the Supreme Court.
All three judges on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit had pointed questions from Trump administration lawyers during oral arguments on the legality of allowing states to add work requirements to their Medicaid programs.
The 5th Circuit Court of Appeals could deem the health law unconstitutional in its ruling in Texas v. Azar, a decision that could come as early as this month. Although the Affordable Care Act will remain the law of the land for a while no matter what the court decides, it could throw some things — like enrollment numbers — into flux. Meanwhile, a new study shows the impact the health law has had on patients with diabetes.
Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) says that she supports rival candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders’ (I-Vt.) health care plan. But she also has faced criticism from members of her own party that she’s been “evasive” when it comes to paying for such a system. Other news on the elections looks at more candidates’ health plans, where the Democrats stand on gun control, and the pregnancy discrimination story that inspired women to speak out.
“Without requiring states to submit projections of administrative costs in their demonstration applications, and by not considering the implications of these costs for federal spending, CMS puts its goals of transparency and budget neutrality at risk,” the Government Accountability Office said in the report. The GAO, a nonpartisan agency that works for Congress, found in its report that costs to administer the work requirements range from about $6 million in New Hampshire to $271 million in Kentucky.
The effort is part of Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer’s efforts to hit Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell for ignoring legislation passed by the Democratic House on health care, guns and other issues. Meanwhile, a new report finds that more states are taking control of their health law marketplaces.