What’s New in Health Care Reform: Aug. 2

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.

Court Allows Democratic States to Defend Obamacare Payments

A U.S. appeals court on allowed Democratic state attorneys general to defend subsidy payments to insurance companies under the Obamacare health care law, a critical part of funding for the statute that President Donald Trump has threatened to cut off. Via U.S. News.

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Senate OKs Bills to Address VA Budget Crisis, Claims Backlog

The Senate approved a pair of bills taking aim at urgent problems at the Department of Veterans Affairs, clearing a $3.9 billion emergency spending package to fix a looming budget crisis and adopting new measures to pare down a rapidly growing backlog of veterans’ disability claims. Both bills passed by unanimous vote. Via AP.

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MNsure Enrollees to Get Four Extra Weeks to Sign up for 2018 Health Insurance

Most Americans will have from Nov. 1 to Dec. 15 this year to get 2018 health insurance on the individual market. Minnesotans will get an extra four weeks. The new Jan. 14 deadline was announced by MNsure, Minnesota’s state-run health insurance exchange. Because Minnesota hasn’t turned its health insurance exchange over to the federal government, it has the ability to extend enrollment periods. Via Pioneer Press.

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With Tom Price in Charge, Doctors Are Winning again in Washington

Quietly, away from the spotlight cast on his effort to dismantle Obamacare, Price has been rolling back regulations that have been criticized by his former physician colleagues. And, unlike with the ACA, he has been able to do so without the blessing of Congress. Via STAT.

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White House Opioid Commission Urges Trump to Declare Federal State of Emergency

The White House's opioid commission is recommending that President Trump declare a federal state of emergency over the epidemic, which has struck dozens of states. The commission, led by New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R), filed a long-awaited report on the crisis after missing its second deadline extension earlier this month. Via The Hill.

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Bipartisan Group Floats Obamacare Fixes

The number of people without health insurance would rise by 22 million in a decade if a revised Senate Republican bill replaced large parts of the Affordable Care Act, while federal deficits would be cut by $420 billion, according to a report from the Congressional Budget Office. The impact of the new report is uncertain, however, as the CBO didn’t include a full analysis of an amendment from Sen. Ted Cruz (R., Texas) that would allow for cheaper but more bare-bones insurance plans because that analysis requires more time. Via The Hill.

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GOP Leaders Say It’s Time for Senate to Move on from Health Care

Senate Republican leaders signaled that they intend to move on from health care to other legislative priorities, even as President Trump continued to pressure lawmakers to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. The discord comes amid uncertainty in the insurance industry and on Capitol Hill about what will come next after last week’s dramatic collapse of the GOP’s effort to scrap the seven-year-old landmark law. Trump threatened to end subsidies to insurers and also took aim at coverage for members of ­Congress. Via Washington Post.

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Minnesota's Health Insurance Rates Set to Stabilize for 2018

State regulators announced that Minnesota residents who buy health insurance on their own may see slight premium hikes or even some price drops next year—a welcome break from several years of double-digit increases that hinges on federal approval of a new state program to control health insurance costs. Via MPR.

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Trump’s FDA Chief Charts a Policy Shift beyond Tobacco Products

The physician running the U.S. Food and Drug Administration stunned tobacco companies when he said the agency had plans for rules to slash cigarettes’ nicotine content. Via Bloomberg.

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Even without Congress, Trump Can Still Cut Medicaid Enrollment

After the Senate fell short in its effort to repeal the Affordable Care Act, the Trump administration is poised to use its regulatory powers to accomplish what lawmakers could not: shrink Medicaid. President Donald Trump’s top health officials could engineer lower enrollment in the state-federal health insurance program by approving applications from several GOP-controlled states eager to control fast-rising Medicaid budgets. Via Kaiser Health News.

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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.