What’s New in Health Care Reform: Feb. 15

What'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.

Conservatives Take a Hard Line on Obamacare Repeal, Putting GOP in a Bind

Conservatives in the House Freedom Caucus voted among themselves to band together and support only an Obamacare repeal that is at least as aggressive as a bill the House and Senate passed in 2015, putting GOP leaders in a bind with their conference and perhaps even threatening the possibility of passing a repeal. Via Huffington Post.

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Top Priority for Insurers: Keep Obamacare’s Coverage Mandate and Subsidies

The Trump administration's highly anticipated Obamacare "market stabilization" regulation, which could come as soon as this week, may help insurers by tightening the enrollment rules. But that's not what's at the top of health insurers' wish list. They care a lot more about keeping the subsidies and individual mandate tax—and they want the taxes on them repealed permanently. Via Axios.

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Pilot Program Could Open Door to Home-Based Medicare Coverage

A pilot program to fund home-based assistance for some Medicare Advantage patients could open the door for reimbursement under Medicare, where payment for nonmedical support services is largely off limits. Sens. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Ben Cardin (D-Md.) are pushing legislation to give the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) the authority to test potential savings from offering home and community-based care to certain Medicare beneficiaries 65 and older. Via The Hill.

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Republicans, Aiming to Kill Health Law, Also Work to Shore It up

After denouncing the Affordable Care Act as an abomination for seven years, Republicans in Congress, working with the Trump administration, are urgently seeking ways to shore up health insurance marketplaces created by the law. While President Trump said as a candidate that “Obamacare is certain to collapse of its own weight,” Republicans fear such an outcome because, now that the fate of the health law is in their hands, they could be blamed by consumers and Democrats. Via NY Times.

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GOP Dilemma on Health Law Taxes: To Cut or Not to Cut?

Republicans love cutting taxes, especially if they were authored by a president named Barack Obama. But as they push their wobbly effort to erase his health care overhaul, they're divided over whether to repeal the levies the law imposed to finance its expanded coverage for millions of Americans. It's a trillion-dollar dilemma—actually closer to $1.1 trillion. That's the 10-year price tag the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office puts on revenue the government would lose if the law's taxes on wealthy people, the insurance and pharmaceutical industries and others were eliminated. Via AP.

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The Stealth Republican Force behind Obamacare Repeal

Republican town halls are erupting with protests as Americans fret over the future of their health insurance. But listen to Lamar Alexander for a few minutes, and you might think not a single bad thing will come of the GOP’s plan to rip apart Obamacare and stitch together a replacement. Via Politico.

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12.2 Million Sign up for Obamacare Despite Its Problems

A count by The Associated Press shows that many consumers returned to the program despite its problems. Aside from the political turmoil, those difficulties include a spike in premiums, rising deductibles, and dwindling choice of insurers. Via AP.

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Trump Administration Eyes Help for Obamacare Insurers

The Trump administration is considering a number of changes to steady the Obamacare insurance markets, but officials will have to get creative without new legislation from Congress. As the Senate prepares to vote to confirm Rep. Tom Price (R-Ga.), President Trump’s nominee to head the Department of Health and Human Services, the agency will soon propose a rule to help insurers facing massive uncertainty as Republicans prepare to gut the health law. Via The Hill.

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What Worked for Obamacare and What Didn't? Lessons from 5 States

Ask anyone about his or her health care and you are likely to hear about doctors, hospitals, maybe costs, and insurance hassles. Most people don't go straight from "my health" to a political debate, and yet that is what our country has been embroiled in for almost a decade. A study published tries to set aside the politics to look at what makes or breaks health insurance markets in five states. Via NPR.

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How a Simple Fix for Medicare Prescribing Problems Got Complicated

The Affordable Care Act's insurance exchanges have become too risky for major health insurers, and that's creating further doubt about coverage options consumers might have next year. Anthem CEO Joseph Swedish said his company is waiting to see whether the government makes some short-term fixes to the shaky exchanges before it decides how much it will participate next year. The Blue Cross-Blue Shield carrier is the nation's second largest insurer and sells coverage on exchanges in 14 states. Via NPR.

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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.