What’s New in Health Care Reform: June 15

a-physician-examining-a-young-child-in-moms-lap-pressing-on-the-childs-abdomen-original-1024x713What's New in Health Care Reform provides an overview of the past week’s news, updates, and commentary in health care reform and utilization management.


Obama Administration Taking Steps to Reduce Organ Donation Waiting List

At a White House Summit, the Obama administration announced a series of steps it will take to attempt to reduce the waiting list for organ donations. The administration is seeking to increase the number of transplants by 2,000 annually and announced nearly $200 million in investments. That commitment is primarily in the form of more than $160 million from the Department of Defense to launch a new research institute focused on developing new manufacturing techniques to repair and replace cells and tissues that may eventually lead to organ replacement. Via Morning Consult.

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Fighting Obamacare, Many Red States Find Fewer Tools to Fight Opioid Addiction Epidemic

Even as they race to control a spiraling heroin and prescription opioid crisis, doctors, public health officials and community leaders in many states are struggling to get care to addiction patients because of persistent opposition to the Affordable Care Act from local political leaders. As a result, thousands of poor patients are languishing on waiting lists for recovery programs or are unable to get medicine to combat addiction because they can’t afford prescriptions, according to health officials nationwide. Via LA Times. 

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GOP Surprises with Push for Smaller Obamacare Changes

House Republicans are considering small-bore changes to Obamacare even as they prepare to release an outline for replacing the entire law. The House Energy and Commerce Committee held a hearing on five bills that would make relatively small changes to the health law, such as changing the documentation required to enroll in coverage or changing how insurers can use someone's age in setting premiums. Via The Hill.

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Why Do Health Costs Keep Rising? These People Know.

The Geisinger Health Plan, run by one of the nation’s top-rated health care organizations, foresees medical costs increasing next year by 7.5 percent for people buying insurance under the Affordable Care Act. So when Geisinger requested a rate increase of 40 percent for 2017, consumer advocates were amazed. And Kurt J. Wrobel, Geisinger’s chief actuary, found himself, along with other members of his profession, in the middle of the health care wars still raging in this political year. Via NY Times.

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Health Chief Makes Case to Insurers for Obamacare Marketplace

Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell sought to calm the nerves of health insurers increasingly in doubt about the fate of the Obamacare marketplace. Burwell struck an upbeat tone on stage at the administration’s inaugural insurers summit, designed to showcase Obamacare success stories among insurers. Via The Hill.

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HHS Announces Plans to Curtail Consumers’ Use of Short-Term Insurance Policies

The Obama administration moved to sharply limit short-term health insurance plans, which a growing number of consumers have been buying even though they offer less coverage than what the Affordable Care Act decreed all people should have. The plans, designed for people in between jobs or in need of temporary insurance until they secure a regular policy, are cheaper than regular insurance plans. But they also can lack features that the health law requires for other policies, such as coverage for preexisting medical conditions, maternity care, and prescription drugs. Via Kaiser Health News.

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Study: ACA Premiums Will Rise by about 10 % in Major Markets Next Year

Premiums for benchmark silver Obamacare plans in more than a dozen metropolitan areas will rise by an average of 10% in 2017, according to an analysis by the nonpartisan Kaiser Family Foundation. Via Morning Consult.

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White House Releases How Much Each State Could Receive under President’s Opioid Budget Proposal

The White House released a state-by-state breakdown of how President Obama’s $1.1 billion proposal to address the opioid crisis could be divided. States would be awarded funding based on the severity of the epidemic in their state and the strength of their proposed plan, Michael Botticelli, director of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy, said on a call with reporters. The amounts each state would be awarded vary. For example, Rhode Island could be awarded $4 million, while California could be awarded $78 million. Via Morning Consult.

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AMA Will Push Congress to Repeal CDC Ban on Gun Violence Research

The American Medical Association called gun violence in America a public health crisis, pledging to lobby Congress to repeal a 20-year ban on gun violence research funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The group’s House of Delegates approved the resolution, pointing to the Orlando shooting over the weekend, the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history, and thousands of other gun-related deaths that occur annually. Via Morning Consult.

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24 Million Would Lose Insurance if ACA Is Repealed, Report Says

Twenty-four million more people would be uninsured by 2021 if the Affordable Care Act was repealed, according to a report released by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. The drops would come primarily from decreases in Medicaid-eligible people in states that expanded Medicaid and from people who purchase private non-group insurance on the federal exchanges. “Gains in health coverage under the ACA are caused mainly by new enrollment in Medicaid and the marketplaces, so these types of coverage would change the most if the ACA were repealed,” its authors say. Via Morning Consult.

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Andy Tofilon

Andy Tofilon is a Marketing Segment Manager at Mayo Medical Laboratories. He leads strategies for corporate communications, public relations, and new media innovations. Andy has worked at Mayo Clinic since 2003. Outside of work, Andy can be found running, hiking, snapping photos, and most importantly, spending time with his family.