What’s New in Health Care Reform: Jan. 11

close-up-of-transplant-surgeon-performing-surgery-16x9What'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.


The Parliamentary Tactic That Could Obliterate Obamacare

Republicans hope to repeal major parts of the Affordable Care Act using an expedited procedure known as budget reconciliation. The process is sometimes called arcane, but it has been used often in the past 35 years to write some of the nation’s most important laws. “Reconciliation is probably the most potent budget enforcement tool available to Congress for a large portion of the budget,” the Congressional Research Service, a nonpartisan arm of Congress, has said. Via NY Times.

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Enzi Introduces Budget Resolution to Start Obamacare Repeal

Senate Budget Committee Chairman Mike Enzi introduced a budget resolution that is the first step in a procedural slog toward the repeal of the Affordable Care Act. The resolution includes instructions to committees with health jurisdiction to repeal the Affordable Care Act, but does not offer details for a replacement plan. GOP leaders say that will come after the 2010 law is repealed. Via Morning Consult.

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GOP Senators Stress Need for ACA Replacement Sooner Rather Than Later

Senate Republicans introduced the budget resolution that is a first step to repeal Obamacare, but there’s growing concern from some GOP Senators about the lack of an immediate replacement plan. Sens. Susan Collins (R-Maine), Bill Cassidy (R-La.), and Rand Paul (R-Ky.) expressed hesitation about repealing the health care law without having a replacement plan ready to go, citing concerns about how the market would react to the swift repeal without an alternative to take its place. Via Morning Consult.

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Doctors Group Warns against Loss of Coverage from Obamacare Repeal

The country’s leading doctors group is urging Republicans to take steps to ensure that people do not lose their health insurance once Obamacare is repealed. The American Medical Association (AMA), wrote a letter to congressional leaders calling for the gains in coverage from Obamacare, which has expanded insurance to 20 million people, to be preserved. Via The Hill.

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For Some Patients in Marketplace Plans, Access to Cancer Centers Is Elusive

Getting cancer is scary. Discovering that your marketplace plan doesn’t give you access to leading cancer centers may make the diagnosis even more daunting. As insurers’ shrink their provider networks and slash the number of plans that offer out-of-network coverage, some consumers are learning that their treatment options can be limited. Via Kaiser Health News.

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Republicans’ 4-Step Plan to Repeal the Affordable Care Act

Vice President-elect Mike Pence and the top Republicans in Congress made clear, more powerfully and explicitly than ever, that they are dead serious about repealing the Affordable Care Act. How they can uproot a law deeply embedded in the nation’s health care system without hurting some of the 20 million people who have gained coverage through it is not clear. Nor is it yet evident that millions of Americans with pre-existing medical conditions will be fully protected against disruptions in their health coverage. Via NY Times.

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Democrats Dare GOP to Repeal Obamacare Sans Replacement

President Barack Obama delivered a pep talk to congressional Democrats, telling them to defend the Affordable Care Act from unified Republican efforts to repeal it outright. During the last Capitol Hill visit with House and Senate Democrats of his presidency, Obama said they should underline Republican divisions over how to replace the law. After a meeting with Vice President-elect Mike Pence the same morning, House Republicans revealed that they plan to repeal Obamacare in February, but delay its implementation until they can agree on a replacement plan. Via Morning Consult.

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In Towns That Lost Most Obamacare Insurers, Rate Increases Still Competitive

People in this city had their pick of four health insurers last year when they shopped for policies during the Affordable Care Act’s open enrollment. This time they have just one: Blue Cross Blue Shield of South Carolina, which had the most Obamacare consumers in Richland County in 2016 due to its low prices. It’s a change that’s been repeated around the country after big health insurers such as Aetna, Humana, and United Healthcare pulled out of dozens of Obamacare marketplaces that they judged unprofitable. Via Kaiser Health News.

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House GOP Plans to Send Obamacare Repeal to Oval Office in February

House Republicans say they aim to send an Obamacare repeal bill to the White House by Feb. 20, following a meeting with Vice President-elect Mike Pence. “We want to have the budget on the president’s desk by the 20th,” Rep. Marsha Blackburn (Tenn.) said after a House GOP conference meeting that Pence attended. “We’re going to be working to hit those benchmarks, and the pace of work is going to change significantly around here.” Via Morning Consult.

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GOP Airs Obamacare Divisions in Pence Meeting

Republicans are fast-tracking the process of repealing Obamacare, aiming to get it done in several weeks. But they’re not even close to agreement about what comes next — or even when the repeal should take effect. Those disagreements spilled over at a closed-door meeting with Vice President-elect Mike Pence that had been intended to unify the Senate GOP. Instead, multiple senators stood up to express concern that the party’s plans to repeal and replace the law could blow massive holes in the budget, according to a source familiar with the exchange. Via Politico.

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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.