What’s New in Health Care Reform: Nov. 23

shutterstock_265904939-1024x683What'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.

Pence: Trump to Push Rapid Repeal of Obamacare

President-elect Donald Trump will prioritize repealing President Barack Obama's landmark health care law right "out of the gate” once he takes office, Vice President-elect Mike Pence said. Quick action to eliminate the Affordable Care Act of 2010 would set up an immediate showdown with congressional Democrats. The Democratic leader in the Senate, Chuck Schumer, said: “We're not going to repeal or help [Trump] repeal Obamacare.” Via Politico.

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Obamacare Repeal Plan Stokes Fears of Market Collapse

GOP lawmakers say they plan to repeal the Affordable Care Act as soon as President-elect Donald Trump takes office, including a transition period of a year or two before it takes effect. That way, they satisfy their base while giving notice to 20 million Obamacare customers that they must find other coverage options. But repealing the law without a replacement is likely to spook health insurers, who might bolt from the markets prematurely to avoid losses as some people stop paying their premiums, while others rush to have expensive medical procedures before losing coverage. Insurers would have little incentive to stick around without knowing know what to expect at the end of the transition. And that could spell chaos for consumers. Via Politico.

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Republicans Introduce Bills to Block Insurance "Bailout"

The GOP wasn’t just focused on repealing Obamacare this week. A group of congressional Republicans also want to make sure the Obama administration doesn’t distribute additional funding to insurers as part of the Affordable Care Act’s “risk corridor” program. Under this program, marketplace insurers paid into a fund, then the administration redistributed that money to companies that lost funding on the exchanges. Its purpose, according to supporters, is to help insurers adjust to the new marketplace created by Obamacare. But the program didn’t bring in as much money as expected, and insurers that haven’t gotten the funding the say they are owed have now sued the administration to recover that money. Via Morning Consult.

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FDA Puts off Closing Lab-Test "Loophole," Leaving Decision to Congress and Trump

After arguing for months that certain medical tests led to patients being mistakenly told they had illnesses and undergoing pointless treatment, the Obama administration dropped its plans to regulate them. The Food and Drug Administration said a decision on whether and how to regulate the tests would be left to Congress and the new president. Via STAT.

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Alexander Warns Drafting ACA Replacement Could Take Time, Bipartisan Consensus

Drafting a sustainable replacement to the Affordable Care Act could take years, Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee Chairman Lamar Alexander warned. Alexander said replacing Obamacare could take longer than the education bill he worked to pass last year, which took six years. Via Morning Consult.

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Dems Begin Plotting Obamacare Defense Strategy

To Democrats, President Obama’s signature healthcare law is working. They acknowledge fixes are needed to ensure long-term stability and affordability, but supporters say the millions of Americans who have gained insurance is proof the law is accomplishing its main goal. That’s a message Democrats want to get out. Via The Hill.

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The Ultimate Q&A about Health Care under a Trump Presidency

While it's pretty much a given that the Affordable Care Act won't survive a Trump presidency and Republican Congress in its current form, there are sweeping implications of reversing a law that has reached in so many ways into our health care system. The government has never undone a major benefits program after it has taken effect—and neither the incoming administration nor GOP lawmakers know exactly how they'll replace it. If your head is spinning because of the politics and lingo that's being thrown around, here's a primer on what we know about the president-elect's plans so far and what they might mean for the ACA marketplaces and for you personally. Via Washington Post.

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Patients in U.S. Struggle More Than in Other Countries to Access Care

While fewer Americans say cost is prohibiting access to care, the U.S. trails other countries among adults who say the financial component creates an obstacle, according to a Commonwealth Fund survey released. U.S. adults said they were more likely to skip care because of cost compared to adults in 10 other countries. Still, Americans were also more likely to have a chronic condition, according to the survey. Via Morning Consult.

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The One Thing Missing from the Debate over Obamacare, According to a Top Doctor

President-elect Donald Trump's promise to repeal the Affordable Care Act while preserving some key elements has triggered rampant speculation about the future of American health care—and plunged millions of patients who benefit from the law into deep uncertainty about the future of their coverage. Little is known about the replacement plan that will ultimately emerge. But one voice angling to shape future policy is the leader of the Mayo Clinic, neurologist John Noseworthy, M.D. The issue he thinks has been strangely missing from the years-long debate over malfunctioning websites, politics and soaring premiums is this: the patient's health. Dr. Noseworthy argues that the Affordable Care Act that expanded access to health insurance to millions of Americans did so without nearly enough input from the patient—or the doctor. Via Washington Post.

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1 Million New ACA Sign-Ups So Far

A quarter of a million new consumers have signed up for Affordable Care Act coverage on HealthCare.gov since open enrollment started, the Obama administration announced. More than 1 million people have signed up for 2017 coverage so far this year, according to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. About 750,000 of those sign-ups were returning customers. More than 300,000 of the new and returning sign-ups came between Nov. 9 and Nov. 11, the agency says—the three days immediately following the election. 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.