What’s New in Health Care Reform: March 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.

GOP Health Bill Would Lead to 24 Million More Uninsured Americans

Fourteen million people would lose coverage in 2018 under the Republican health care bill and that number would grow to 24 million after a decade, according to an analysis of a Republican reconciliation bill that would repeal and replace significant parts of the Affordable Care Act released by the Congressional Budget Office. The nonpartisan agency projects an estimated 52 million people would be uninsured in 2026 under the Republican plan, rolling back much of the gains in health coverage under the ACA. (About 28 million would be uninsured in a decade under current law, which cut the number of uninsured people by 20 million.) Via Morning Consult.

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GOP Does Damage Control over Health Care Score

Leading House Republicans are fighting to defend their Obamacare replacement bill in the face of a Congressional Budget Office (CBO) report that found the measure would result in millions of people becoming uninsured. Democrats are on the attack, hoping the findings—and the eye-popping estimate that 24 million additional people will be without coverage by 2026—will stop Obamacare repeal in its tracks. Via The Hill.

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White House Analysis of Obamacare Repeal Sees Even Deeper Insurance Losses Than CBO

A White House analysis of the GOP plan to repeal and replace Obamacare shows even steeper coverage losses than the projections by the Congressional Budget Office, according to a document viewed by POLITICO. The executive branch analysis forecast that 26 million people would lose coverage over the next decade, versus the 24 million CBO estimates. The White House has made efforts to discredit the forecasts from the nonpartisan CBO. Via Politico.

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Trump Said No Americans Would Lose Coverage under Obamacare Repeal. Paul Ryan Won’t Make That Promise.

House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.) said that he doesn’t know how many Americans would lose coverage under his proposal to revise the Affordable Care Act, which is under fire from fellow Republicans, AARP and virtually every sector of the U.S. health-care industry. “I can’t answer that question,” Ryan said in an appearance on CBS’s “Face the Nation.” “It’s up to people,” he said. “Here’s the premise of your question: Are you going to stop mandating people buy health insurance? People are going to do what they want to do with their lives because we believe in individual freedom in this country.” Via Washington Post.

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The Obamacare Nightmare Scenario

The nightmare scenario for Obamacare is a meltdown of the individual health insurance market. If health insurers lose confidence as Republicans struggle with their repeal efforts—or because of the turmoil and price hikes that have already been underway—even more could withdraw, leaving Obamacare customers with nowhere to turn to keep their coverage. Humana has already done this, raising fears that the meltdown could actually happen. But it's always a vague threat, with no real specifics. Katherine Hempstead and her research team at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation helped Axios map out the likely impact if other insurers that have been on the fence decide to pull out. Via Axios.

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By Law, Hospitals Now Must Tell Medicare Patients When Care Is "Observation Only"

Under a new federal law, hospitals across the country must now alert Medicare patients when they are getting observation care and why they were not admitted—even if they stay in the hospital a few nights. For years, seniors often found out only when they got surprise bills for the services Medicare doesn’t cover for observation patients, including some drugs and expensive nursing home care. The notice may cushion the shock but probably not settle the issue. Via Kaiser Health News.

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Obamacare Revision Clears Two House Committees as Trump, Others Tried to Tamp Down Backlash

Trump met with conservative critics of the plan, signaling both a willingness to negotiate its details and that it does not yet have enough votes to emerge from the House. More acknowledgment of the proposal’s problems came from Senate Republicans, who suggested that the measure is moving too quickly through the House and in a form unlikely to succeed if it gets to the upper chamber. Yet the plan emerged from two key House committees, and House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.), its top booster, insisted that the pending legislation represents the “only chance we’re going to get” to fulfill the GOP’s long-standing promise to undo the Affordable Care Act. Via Washington Post.

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House Will Consider a Second Health Bill the Same Week as Obamacare Repeal

Republicans have long said the plan is to do repeal and replace in three "buckets," or phases. First comes budget reconciliation, which is the legislative method being used to repeal Obamacare without any Democratic votes. That's what the House is currently working on, and it contains pieces of a replacement as well as the repeal. Next comes whatever Tom Price can do administratively as secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services. Then comes the legislation that can't be done through budget reconciliation, which would necessarily need Democrats to pass in the Senate. Via Axios.

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GOP Leaders Say Republicans Won’t Get Second Chance on Health Care

Congressional Republican leaders are pushing back against party criticism of their plan to replace the Affordable Care Act. In media appearances, House and Senate leaders drove home the message that their plan is Republicans’ best shot to make good on their No. 1 campaign promise. Via Morning Consult.

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Republicans Indifferent about Lack of Doctor, Hospital Support for Health Bill

Republicans don’t mind too much that industry groups aren’t supportive of the health care bill they hope to push through Congress. Some GOP lawmakers–including members of the Republican Doctors’ Caucus–say groups such as the American Medical Association and the American Hospital Association endorsed the Affordable Care Act, so it’s no wonder they oppose legislation that would overhaul it. 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.