What’s New in Health Care Reform: Dec. 7

shutterstock_268199678What'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.

Tom Price is Eager to Lead H.H.S., and Reduce its Clout

During his 12 years in Congress, Representative Tom Price has made clear what role he thinks the government should play in health care. It can be summed up in one word: less. Throughout his career, Mr. Price — who has been picked by President-elect Donald J. Trump to be secretary of health and human services — has argued that the government should get out of the way of doctors and give patients more control over their health care. Via NY Times.

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Obama Urges the Public to Tell Republicans Not to ‘Abandon’ the ACA

President Obama urged the American public to press the Republican-led Congress not to abandon gains in insurance coverage and access to health care that the Affordable Care Act has brought during the past six years. The president’s brief remarks, on Facebook Live in front of a White House fireplace with Christmas decorations, were his most pointed since last month’s election about the fate of the health-care law that stands as the largest domestic achievement of his presidency — and a main target of President-elect Donald Trump and the Republican majority in Congress. Via Washington Post.

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National Health Care Spending Grew in 2015, Data Shows

Health care spending was slightly higher in 2015 than it was in 2014, an increase that researchers attribute to the newly insured under Obamacare using more medical services. National health care spending rose 5.8 percent last year, reaching $3.2 trillion, according to new Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services figures published in Health Affairs. Spending in 2014 grew 5.3 percent, following historically low health care spending between 2009 and 2013. Via Morning Consult.

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GOP In Talks About Helping Insurers After Obamacare Repeal

Congressional Republicans are talking to health insurers about ways to prevent a collapse of the insurance market once they pass an Obamacare repeal bill. Republicans are planning to pass repeal legislation as soon as January, but plan to delay it from taking effect for a few years to avoid immediate disruption in people’s coverage. The delay would also buy them time to come up with a replacement. Via The Hill.

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Court Agrees to Temporary Delay of GOP Obamacare Lawsuit

A federal appeals judge said House Republicans’ lawsuit challenging Affordable Care Act subsidies would be placed on hold until Feb. 21, 2017, a move that will give the Trump administration time to decide its next steps. Via Morning Consult.

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Obamacare Was Profitable For Some Insurers Despite Public Comments

One of the most vocal insurers about the problems with the Affordable Care Act marketplace made nearly $400 million in one state already this year, documents show. Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina lost about $400 million on ACA individual plans sold on Healthcare.gov in 2014 and 2015. After raising rates by about 32% for 2016, the company made nearly the same amount for the first three quarters of 2016 for all individual plans sold on and off the exchange, data filed with the state department of insurance show. Via USA Today.

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What it Will Take to Stop Insurers From Fleeing After the ACA's Repeal

Health insurers and regulators are extremely nervous about congressional Republican leaders' announced plans to repeal most of the Affordable Care Act soon after Donald Trump takes over the presidency next month and wait several years to establish a new system. But some insiders say they are encouraged that GOP leaders are slowly recognizing they need to take steps to shore up the fragile individual insurance market that covers nearly 20 million Americans and avoid measures that drive health plans out of the market in 2018. Meanwhile, some state insurance officials are examining what tools they have to keep the insurance market functioning in the event of an ACA repeal early next year. Via Modern Healthcare.

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Hospitals Warn Trump, Congress of Massive Losses with Affordable Care Act Repeal

The nation’s hospital industry warned President-elect Trump and congressional leaders that repealing the Affordable Care Act could cost hospitals $165 billion by the middle of the next decade and trigger “an unprecedented public health crisis. The two main trade groups for U.S. hospitals dispatched a letter to the incoming president and Capitol Hill’s top four leaders, saying that the government should help hospitals avoid massive financial losses if the law is rescinded in a way that causes a surge of uninsured patients. Via Washington Post.

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Health Insurers List Demands if Affordable Care Act is Killed

The nation’s health insurers, resigned to the idea that Republicans will repeal the Affordable Care Act, publicly outlined for the first time what the industry wants to stay in the state marketplaces, which have provided millions of Americans with insurance under the law. The insurers, some which have already started leaving the marketplaces because they are losing money, say they need a clear commitment from the Trump administration and congressional leaders that the government will continue offsetting some costs for low-income people. They also want to keep in place rules that encourage young and healthy people to sign up, which the insurers say are crucial to a stable market for individual buyers. Via NY Times.

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Study: ‘Obamacare’ Repeal-Only Would Make 30M Uninsured

Repealing President Barack Obama's health care law without a clear replacement risks making nearly 30 million people uninsured, according to a study. Republicans say that won't happen because they are working on replacement legislation for a President Donald Trump to sign. Nonetheless, the complex two-stage strategy the GOP Congress is contemplating has raised concerns. Via AP.

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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.