What’s New in Health Care Reform: June 28

The Week in Review provides an overview of the past week’s top health care content, including industry news and trends, Mayo Clinic and Mayo Medical Laboratories news, and upcoming events.

Senate Health Bill Reels as C.B.O. Predicts 22 Million More Uninsured

The Senate bill to repeal the Affordable Care Act was edging toward collapse after the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office said it would increase the number of people without health insurance by 22 million by 2026. Two Republicans, Senators Susan Collins of Maine and Rand Paul of Kentucky, said that they would vote against even debating the health care bill, joining Senator Dean Heller of Nevada, who made the same pledge. Senator Ron Johnson of Wisconsin hinted that he, too, would probably oppose taking up the bill on a procedural vote, meaning a collapse could be imminent. Via NY Times.

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Draft Executive Order Would Enhance High-Deductible Coverage for Chronic Disease Care

While all eyes were on Senate Republicans last week as they rushed to assemble their bill to repeal the Affordable Care Act, a draft version of a White House executive order surfaced that would allow patients enrolled in high-deductible health plans to access care for chronic conditions before they meet their deductible. Via Modern Healthcare.

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House Seeks to Cap Malpractice Awards as Part of Health Care Update

The bill is part of a package of proposed reforms that supplement the American Health Care Act, the House measure to replace the Affordable Care Act that was narrowly approved in May. The Trump administration pledged to support the tort reform legislation. Passage is far from certain. Via Kaiser Health News.

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Trump Travel Ban Partly Reinstated; Fall Court Arguments Set

The justices will hear full arguments in October in the case that has stirred heated emotions across the nation. In the meantime, the court said that Trump's ban on visitors from Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen can be enforced if those visitors lack a "credible claim of a bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the United States." Via MPR.

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Senate GOP Expected to Add New Penalties For the Uninsured into Their Health Bill

Senate Republicans are expected to revise their health bill early next week, adding in a provision that could lock Americans out of the individual market for six months if they fail to maintain continuous insurance coverage. Via Vox.

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Senate Health Bill Would Revamp Medicaid, Alter ACA Guarantees, Cut Premium Support

Republicans in the U.S. Senate unveiled a bill that would dramatically transform the nation’s Medicaid program, make significant changes to the federal health law’s tax credits that help lower-income people buy insurance and allow states to water down changes to some of the law’s coverage guarantees. The bill also repeals the tax mechanism that funded the Affordable Care Act’s benefits, resulting in hundreds of billions of dollars in tax cuts for the wealthy and health care industry. Via Kaiser Health News.

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Governors Wary of Medicaid Cost Shift in Senate Health Bill

Governors in several states that opted to expand Medicaid under former President Barack Obama’s health care law are wary of the Senate Republican plan to end the added federal funding for it within seven years. The proposal released calls for a slower phase-out of the Medicaid expansion than a bill adopted earlier by the House. Yet it still would force those states to figure out what to do about the millions of lower-income Americans who used it to gain health coverage. The doubts about the latest plan from Washington came from Republicans, Democrats and the nation’s one independent governor. Via AP.

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Census: U.S. Growing Older and More Racially Diverse

The United States is growing older and more ethnically diverse, a trend that could put strains on government programs from Medicare to education, the Census Bureau reported. Via MPR.

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Physicians Prepare for Medicare ID Changes without Clear CMS Guidance

Medical practices around the country are uncertain how to prepare for the removal of Social Security numbers from Medicare ID cards because the CMS has failed to provide clear guidance for the upcoming changes. Since the beginning of the Medicare program, Social Security numbers have been used as the beneficiary identifier for administering services. But the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act required the CMS to remove Social Security numbers from Medicare cards because of identity theft and fraud risks. Via Modern Healthcare.

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Congressional Democrats Object to White House’s Drug-Cost Plans

The Trump administration’s efforts to clamp down on high drug prices triggered pushback from congressional Democrats who attacked the proposals under consideration as a giveaway to the drug industry. The administration has been drafting an executive order that takes aim at various federal agency rules and the low prices paid overseas that the industry has long argued contribute to higher prices in the U.S., according to a person familiar with the draft. Via Wall Street Journal.

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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.