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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.
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.
“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.
The report from Georgetown University Center for Children and Families cited the confusion surrounding the Trump administration’s failed attempt to repeal the health law, the successful elimination of the law’s individual mandate, and a months-long delay in funding CHIP.
“You’re asking me to come up with an exact detailed plan of how every American — how much you’re going to pay more in taxes, how much I’m going to pay,” Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) said. “I don’t think I have to do that right now.” 2020 rival Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) has faced intense scrutiny over the same issue, and has promised to release a plan on how to pay for the changes.
But state officials won’t release details of those changes until they’ve submitted the new plan to CMS. Medicaid news comes out of Florida and Arizona, as well.
The Senate Democrats would need four Republicans to join them in the vote. But the move would put many Republicans on record voting in favor of chipping away health law protections–which became a winning issue for Democrats in the mid-terms. Meanwhile, as open enrollment nears, states look for ways to reach out to new consumers.
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.