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News Archives

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Humana Plans to Pull Out of Obamacare’s Insurance Exchanges

February 14, 2017, The New York Times, Reed Abelson- Humana announced on Tuesday that it would no longer offer health insurance coverage in the state marketplaces created under the federal health care law, becoming the first major insurer to cast a no-confidence vote over selling individual plans on the public exchanges for 2018. President Trump immediately seized on the company’s decision as evidence that the Affordable Care Act needed to be repealed and replaced. “Obamacare continues to fail,” he said on Twitter. The company’s decision is likely to set off a contentious debate about who is to blame for the market’s current shakiness. While the president and Republicans have vowed to undo the health care law, they have yet to come up with a solid plan.

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A Deep Dive Into 4 GOP Talking Points On Health Care

February 14, 2017, Kaiser Health News, Julie Rovner- Republican leaders have a lengthy list of talking points about the shortcomings of the health law. Shortly before his inauguration last month, President Donald Trump said that it “is a complete and total disaster. It’s imploding as we sit.” And they can point to a host of issues, including premium increases averaging more than 20 percent this year, a drop in the number of insurers competing on the Affordable Care Act marketplaces and rising consumer discontent with high deductibles and limited doctor networks. Yet a careful analysis of some of the GOP’s talking points show a much more nuanced situation and suggest that the political fights over the law may have contributed to some of its problems. Here is an annotated guide to four of the most common talking points Republicans have been using.

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A Deep Dive Into 4 GOP Talking Points On Health Care

February 14, 2017, Kaiser Health News, Julie Rovner- Republican leaders have a lengthy list of talking points about the shortcomings of the health law. Shortly before his inauguration last month, President Donald Trump said that it “is a complete and total disaster. It’s imploding as we sit.” And they can point to a host of issues, including premium increases averaging more than 20 percent this year, a drop in the number of insurers competing on the Affordable Care Act marketplaces and rising consumer discontent with high deductibles and limited doctor networks. Yet a careful analysis of some of the GOP’s talking points show a much more nuanced situation and suggest that the political fights over the law may have contributed to some of its problems. Here is an annotated guide to four of the most common talking points Republicans have been using.

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Obamacare overhaul proposals create uncertainty for patients, providers

February 12, 2017, USA Today, Jayne O’Donnell- Once its patients were insured by the Affordable Care Act, the community health center in Whitesburg, Ky. opened on the weekends in 2014 and added optometrists and a dental clinic in 2015. Van Breeding, the primary care doctor in charge of the clinic, says if his patients lose coverage in any ACA replacement, he’ll have to close on weekends and get rid of the newer services. Patients like Lee Sexton, an 88-year-old banjo player with black lung disease, will have to head to the far more expensive emergency room if they need care on the weekends. The effects could be far more serious though, he fears.

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