House G.O.P. Leaders Outline Plan to Replace Obama Health Care Act

February 16, 2017, The New York Times, Robert Pear and Thomas Kaplan- House Republican leaders on Thursday presented their rank-and-file members with the outlines of their plan to replace the Affordable Care Act, leaning heavily on tax credits to finance individual insurance purchases and sharply reducing federal payments to the 31 states that have expanded Medicaid eligibility.Speaker Paul D. Ryan and two House committee chairmen stood with the new secretary of health and human services, former Representative Tom Price of Georgia, preparing Republican lawmakers for a weeklong Presidents’ Day recess that promises to be dominated by angry or anxious questions about the fate of the health law.

Medicaid cuts in Mississippi would be devastating

February 19, 2017, The Clarion Ledger, Lynn Evans- One of the more consistent questions at the state Capitol when faced with Mississippi’s health-related budget requests is: Why are costs going up? It’s not the children. Children are still the least expensive patients to care for, including if the payer is Medicaid. A child insured by Medicaid costs about $2,399 a year, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics. Although children make up the largest category of Mississippi Medicaid beneficiaries at 56 percent, they account for only about 20 percent of Medicaid spending. And that percentage is actually down, not up.

New Rules Try To Shore Up Individual Health Insurance Market In 2018

February 15, 2017, Kaiser Health News, Julie Rovner- While Congress continues to struggle with how to “repeal and replace” the Affordable Care Act, the Trump administration today unveiled its first regulation aimed at keeping insurers participating in the individual market in 2018. “These are initial steps in advance of a broader effort to reverse the harmful effects of Obamacare, promote positive solutions to improve access to quality, affordable care and ensure we have a health system that best serves the needs of all Americans,” Tom Price, secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services said in a Twitter message.

Insurers are not convinced Trump administration rule could help ACA exchanges

February 15, 2017, Modern Healthcare, Virgil Dickson- The Trump administration failed to address the insurance industry’s most pressing concerns in a rule aimed at stabilizing the individual marketplace created by the Affordable Care Act.  “Right now, plans are missing key pieces of information to make smart business decisions for 2018,” said Ceci Connolly, CEO of the Alliance of Community Health Plans. Most need to decide before March whether they’ll stay on the exchanges. A rule released Wednesday but leaked a few weeks ago hoped to appease insurers looking to curb the number of sicker people who sign up for coverage.

GOP may boost Medicaid spending in order to slash the program

February 15, 2017, Politico, Jennifer Haberkorn and Rachana Pradhan- Republicans determined to cut Medicaid may first have to pour more money into it to keep the peace between Republican governors who expanded health care for low-income people under Obamacare and those who resisted. It’s all part of the GOP’s long-term plan to dramatically revamp the health care entitlement for the poor in order to cap what they see as runaway federal spending. But growing the program, even as an act of political expediency, would mark a major break from GOP campaign slogans and conservative orthodoxy on spending.

Shorter Enrollment Period For Obamacare Proposed By Administration

February 15, 2017, NPR, Allison Kodjak- President Trump has promised to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act without taking insurance away from the millions of people who gained coverage under the law. On Wednesday his Department of Health and Human Services made its first substantive proposals to change the marketplaces for individual coverage, commonly known as Obamacare. The proposed rules aim to keep insurers in the market during a transition to a new system. One way is to tighten up when people can sign up for coverage. Insurers like Aetna. The company’s CEO, Mark Bertolini, said Wednesday that Obamacare is failing.