What’s New in Health Care Reform: Oct. 26

awake-brain-surgery-1024x576What'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.

Rising Insurance Premiums Boost Talk of Changes to Affordable Care Act

Insurer defections and rising premiums in the individual insurance market are spurring Democrats and Republicans alike to talk about changes to the 2010 Affordable Care Act. For now, the conversations are largely aimed at their party’s base. President Barack Obama led his party’s cry with suggestions that would further entrench the law, including the addition of a government-run health plan in parts of the country with limited competition. GOP lawmakers have continued to call for gutting the law, including proposals to waive its penalties for people who forgo coverage in areas with limited insurance options. Via Wall Street Journal.

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Minnesota Governor ‘Regrets’ How Obamacare Statement Played Out

Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton offered regret for how his recent comments about the affordability of the Affordable Care Act had been used against other Democrats in the state and across the country. Dayton, who has embraced the law throughout his tenure, said earlier this month that plans offered under the law were “no longer affordable” for many people. In a statement issued, Dayton clarified that the law is working well for most people in his state, but not for those who purchase insurance on the federal exchange, saying he agreed with remarks President Obama made yesterday that in large part, the law “has worked.” Via Morning Consult.

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HHS Projects 1.1 Million New People To Sign Up For Obamacare Next Year

The Department of Health and Human Services projects 13.8 million people will sign up for Obamacare next year, which health experts have called a critical year for the law. Their goal marks a 1.1 million person increase over the 12.7 million people who signed up for coverage this year. The department expects an average of 11.4 million people will maintain their policies monthly, compared to an average 10.5 million consumers who are expected to maintain their policies monthly this year. The department did not offer an estimate for how many people will have Obamacare plans by the end of 2017, as they have in the past. Via Morning Consult.

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Obama Meets a Crossroads for His Healthcare Law

President Obama will make a final pitch to the millions of Americans still lacking healthcare coverage as his administration enters its the fourth and final sign-up stretch. The president’s most immediate task in his Florida speech will be convincing the 23 million people in the U.S. still without coverage to sign up on HealthCare.gov starting on Nov. 1. Via The Hill.

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Burwell Calls for Bipartisanship and Democratic Priorities to Strengthen Health Law

Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell says the next Congress should heed the advice of President Obama to strengthen the Affordable Care Act marketplace. She called for bipartisan work to address shortcomings in the law or strengthen the marketplace in a speech announcing the administration’s goal for 2017 Obamacare sign-ups. Via Morning Consult.

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Burwell Says Upcoming Enrollment Efforts Are Pivotal For Health Law

Rate hikes are likely on the way for plans offered on the health law’s online exchanges, or marketplaces. Consumers’ out-of-pocket costs are expected to climb, and some major insurers are pulling out. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell Wednesday acknowledged that the Affordable Care Act’s fourth enrollment season, scheduled to begin Nov. 1 and run until Jan. 31, is a pivotal time for President Barack Obama’s signature domestic policy achievement. Via Kaiser Health News.

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Why 27 Million Are Still Uninsured Under Obamacare

When the Affordable Care Act was signed into law in 2010, it promised to extend health insurance to tens of millions of people. And although the law has helped push the U.S. uninsured rate down to a record low, the ACA’s new insurance markets are proving to be volatile, with insurers recording big losses and pulling out. Meanwhile, there are still millions of people without health insurance. Via Bloomberg.

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What to Know About Enrollment Caps on Minnesota Health Insurance Plans

To avoid being locked out of the health plan they want, Minnesotans buying insurance on the individual market will need to shop early next month. That’s because all but one of the plans selling insurance on Minnesota’s individual market have set enrollment caps — and could fill up in a matter of weeks. “The choices are going to be so incredibly limited,” said Heidi Mathson, past president of the Minnesota Association of Health Underwriters, which represents insurance agents and brokers. “I think those caps are going to be met very quickly.” Via Pioneer Press.

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Obama Defends Health Law While Expressing Hope For Future Reforms

President Obama defended the merits of the Affordable Care Act in a speech that slammed Republicans for their attacks on the law and explained some of its wonkiest aspects. Throughout the address at Florida’s Miami Dade University, likely one of his final chances to publicly defend his signature domestic policy achievement as president, Obama addressed the law’s misconceptions. He said Obamacare “has worked,” but could be improved, and laid out steps he thinks should be taken to do so. Via Morning Consult.

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Republicans Reject Obama’s Take on Health Law

Conservatives pushed back on President Obama’s assessment of the Affordable Care Act. Responding to the president’s speech defending Obamacare, House Speaker Paul Ryan said he wasn’t “sure what health care law he’s talking about.” “He wondered out loud why there’s been such a fuss. It’s no secret: It’s because of Obamacare. That’s why we’ve seen record premium hikes,” the Wisconsin Republican said in a statement. “That’s why millions of people—including millennials—have lost their plans, or been forced to buy plans they don’t like. That’s why we’ve seen waste, fraud, and abuse.” “At this point, one thing is clear: This law can’t be fixed,” Ryan added. 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.