What’s New in Health Care Reform: May 3

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.


Trump Wants Health Care Bill to Protect Pre-Existing Conditions

President Donald Trump said the Republican health care bill being negotiated in Congress ultimately will protect Americans with pre-existing conditions as well as Obamacare does. “I want it to be good for sick people. It’s not in its final form right now," he said during an Oval Office interview Monday with Bloomberg News. "It will be every bit as good on pre-existing conditions as Obamacare." The latest version of the House GOP bill, which Republican leaders are trying to figure out whether they have the votes to pass this week, wouldn’t live up to that promise and would weaken those protections. Via Bloomberg.

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The Health Care Bill's Path Forward in the Senate

It's been widely assumed the current GOP health care bill working its way through the House would be vastly changed in the Senate—in fact, that's part of leadership's pitch to moderate holdouts. But Senate Republicans are already thinking about what it will take to get the bill through the upper chamber, and the changes are not as vast as some might think. The bottom line: The bill is far from dead on arrival. Here's the plan so far, according to top GOP senators and aides. Via Axios.

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Study: Increased Insurance Coverage Didn’t Reduce Access to Care

More people getting health insurance under the Affordable Care Act didn’t lead to challenges in accessing care for those who were already insured, a new Health Affairs study shows. The findings could assuage concerns about how access to doctors was affected under the ACA. They suggest that having more insured people in a geographical area does not make it more difficult for others in the same area to access preventative care and specialists. The study looked at 41,512 adults between 2008 and 2014, and considered how access changed, especially when insurance coverage levels spiked between 2013 and 2014. Via Morning Consult.

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Budget Deal Reached in Congress

Congressional leaders have reached a deal on a more than $1 trillion spending bill that would fund the government at updated levels through the end of September. The legislation will permanently extend expiring health insurance benefits to coal miners, a major priority of senators from Appalachia. It provides $2 billion in new spending for the National Institutes of Health, including a down payment on former President Barack Obama's cancer moon-shot. Via Politico.

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Obamacare Repeal: GOP Seeks New Game Plan

GOP lawmakers are expressing hope that a vote on legislation to repeal and replace Obamacare can be held as soon as next week despite a severe divide in the conference that thwarted the White House's hopes of holding a vote within President Trump’s first 100 days in office. GOP leaders say they won’t call a vote until the new legislation has enough support to pass, and that new version appears to have lost the votes of centrists as it has gained endorsement from conservatives. Some lawmakers are also discussing changes to the bill to help bring moderates on board. Via The Hill.

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For Some, Pre-Hospice Care Can Be a Good Alternative to Hospitals

Most aging people would choose to stay home in their last years of life. But for many, it doesn't work out: They go in and out of hospitals, getting treated for flare-ups of various chronic illnesses. It's a massive problem that costs the health care system billions of dollars and has galvanized health providers, hospital administrators, and policymakers to search for solutions. Via NPR.

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GOP Leaders’ Plan for Pre-Existing Conditions Splits Conference

House GOP leaders defended how well their proposed health care legislation protects those with pre-existing health conditions, following two high-profile defections over the issue. Republicans have long vowed to protect the popular Affordable Care Act plank that guarantees insurance companies can’t deny people coverage because they have an existing health condition. But some House GOP lawmakers are concerned an amendment that has won the support of the conference’s most conservative members would leave sick patients unable to access health care. Via Morning Consult.

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Senate GOP Frets House Could Blow It on Obamacare

Senate Republicans are backing off their criticism of the House Republicans’ Obamacare repeal proposal, wary of the consequences that a second failure would have for the party’s quest to gut the law. Compared with the Senate GOP’s open attempts to sink the previous effort by House Republicans, senators have been relatively muted this time. Via Politico.

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Moderate Republican Crafts Plan to Boost Stalled Health Bill

Top House Republicans scrambling to prevent another collapse of their push to repeal much of President Barack Obama's health care law may have found a way to win over some moderate GOP holdouts. Rep. Fred Upton, R-Mich., an influential centrist who'd initially announced opposition to his party's health care bill, said he's crafting an amendment with the backing of party leaders that could gain crucial support for the languishing measure. Via AP.

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Those ACA Insurer Payments May Not Last Long

Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney reopened the debate over Affordable Care Act payments to insurers this afternoon, suggesting at a White House briefing that the Trump administration hasn't decided whether to provide the May payments for cost-sharing reduction subsidies. Via Axios.

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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.