In This Edition:
From Kaiser Health News:
Clinton has offered detailed plans to preserve and expand the law, while Trump has vowed to “repeal and replace Obamacare so quickly.” (Sarah Varney, 9/23)
California Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones says a publicly run health plan would bolster competition in the state. But some question whether it would lower premiums. (Chad Terhune, 9/23)
Kaiser Health News provides a fresh take on health policy developments with "Political Cartoon: 'Desperate Times'" by Mike Luckovich, Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
Here's today's health policy haiku:
OBESITY’S HIDDEN IMPACT
Longer, but will their eating
Patterns change that trend?
If you have a health policy haiku to share, please Contact Us and let us know if you want us to include your name. Keep in mind that we give extra points if you link back to a KHN original story.
Summaries Of The News:
The Commonwealth Fund study also found that 9 million would gain coverage under Hillary Clinton's proposals.
The Associated Press: Study Finds 20M Would Lose Health Coverage Under Trump Plan
A new study that examines some major health care proposals from the presidential candidates finds that Donald Trump would cause about 20 million to lose coverage while Hillary Clinton would provide coverage for an additional 9 million people. The 2016 presidential campaign has brought voters to a crossroads on health care yet again. The U.S. uninsured rate stands at a historically low 8.6 percent, mainly because of President Barack Obama's health care law, which expanded government and private coverage. Yet it's uncertain if the nation's newest social program will survive the election. (Alonso-Zaldivar, 9/23)
Bloomberg: The Numbers Behind Trump Versus Clinton Health-Reform Proposals
If Democrats keep the White House come November, millions of Americans could gain health-care coverage. If Republicans take it back, millions could become uninsured. A new study ran the numbers under the proposals of both U.S. presidential candidates. Donald Trump’s pledge to repeal the Affordable Care Act, President Barack Obama’s signature health-care law, would result in 19.7 million more people without insurance and widen the federal deficit by $33.1 billion in 2018, according to an analysis conducted by research group Rand Corp. and funded by the Commonwealth Fund, a nonprofit foundation. The Republican nominee’s proposed tax credits would largely benefit higher-income people, the study also found. (Tracer and Kapur, 9/23)
Dallas Morning News: Clinton Vs. Trump: Health Care Policy Could Radically Change With Election
In terms of health care, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump have their eyes set on the high cost of prescription drugs, the Affordable Care Act and the health of U.S. veterans. The soaring cost of pharmaceuticals has drawn national attention as a major threat to the nation’s economy. The latter two issues are also of particular interest to Texas, a state that has not expanded Medicaid and is home to the second-highest population of the nation’s veterans. (Rice, 9/22)
Meanwhile, in Arizona the health law's reverberations are felt on the campaign trail —
Kaiser Health News: In Arizona, Health Law’s Gains And Losses Play In Presidential Race
Just weeks before the presidential election, Josephine has spent nearly every morning worrying as she drives to her breast cancer treatments, waits for her doctor and comes back home. At 61, Josephine, who asked that her last name not be used because she has been under the protection of a restraining order, has much riding on this election. Once uninsured after being laid off from her job, she was recently diagnosed with breast cancer and has been able to get subsidized health coverage through the Affordable Care Act. The pro-Hillary Clinton signs on her parched lawn show which candidate she trusts to keep her covered. (Varney, 9/23)
Republicans became worried after a Sept. 9 memo on 2015 risk corridor payments showed that HHS was open to discussing resolution of the lawsuits from insurers. The program was designed to help insurers that suffer losses on the ACA exchanges by giving them payments from other insurers that did well on the new business.
The Wall Street Journal: House Republicans Warn Against Settling Suits With Insurers Over Health-Care Payments
Congressional Republicans are warning the Obama administration not to settle with insurers that have sued the government over an Affordable Care Act program to compensate them for losses under the law, saying such a move would bypass spending limits set by Congress. Forty-six House Republicans signed a letter sent Thursday to Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell saying they oppose any settlements and could sue the administration to block them. (Armour, 9/22)
In other news, Democrats are trying to get Republicans to work with them to fix the health law, fears of a death spiral are flamed by the failure of co-ops, and more out of the states —
The Hill: Dems To GOP: Help Us Fix ObamaCare
Democrats are beginning to talk about changing ObamaCare to fix what they acknowledge are growing problems in the law’s insurance marketplaces. Insurers have been dropping out of ObamaCare or hiking their premiums this year due to financial losses, fueling Republican criticism of the law ahead of the November elections. (Sullivan, 9/22)
Bloomberg: Failing Obamacare Nonprofit Co-Ops Add To ‘Death Spiral’ Fears
As concerns about the survival of the Affordable Care Act’s markets intensify, the role of nonprofit “co-op” health insurers -- meant to broaden choices under the law -- has gained prominence. Most of the original 23 co-ops have failed, dumping more than 800,000 members back onto the ACA markets over the last two years. Many of those thousands of people were sicker and more expensive than the remaining insurers expected -- and they’re hurting results. ... “These co-ops have attracted, we think, disproportionately high health-care utilizers,” Gary Taylor, an analyst with JPMorgan who follows the industry, said in a telephone interview. Their former members “are now enrolled in these for-profit health plans. That’s been a factor driving the deterioration in their profitability.” (Darie, 9/23)
Morning Consult: Blue Cross Blue Shield Of North Carolina To Offer Marketplace Plans Across State
Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina will marketplace plans in every county in the state next year, the insurer said Thursday. The insurer will be the only one to offer plans in every county next year. BCBSNC had previously suggested it could withdraw from the marketplace before 2017, citing financial losses, which would have left most counties in the state without an insurer offering exchange plans. (McIntire, 9/22)
California Healthline: Remember The ‘Public Option’? Insurance Commissioner Wants To Try It In California
With major insurers retreating from the federal health law’s marketplaces, California’s insurance commissioner said he supports a public option at the state level that could bolster competition and potentially serve as a test for the controversial idea nationwide. “I think we should strongly consider a public option in California,” Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones said in a recent interview with California Healthline. “It will require a lot of careful thought and work, but I think it’s something that ought to be on the table because we continue to see this consolidation in an already consolidated health insurance market.” (Terhune, 9/22)
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell unveiled a measure that includes $1.1 billion in funding for Zika, but Democrats immediately rejected the bill because it lacks money to address the Flint water crisis.
The Wall Street Journal: Senate Moves Closer On Budget Bill Despite Divisions
Republicans and Democrats in the Senate have agreed on $1.1 billion in funding to combat the Zika virus as part of a stopgap spending bill needed to keep the government running beyond next Friday, but they remain divided over whether to include assistance for Flint, Mich., as part of that deal. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R., Ky.) introduced legislation Thursday that would keep the government funded through Dec. 9, but Democrats said they weren’t ready to sign on to a bill that included flood relief for certain states but doesn’t address the drinking water crisis in Flint. (son, 9/22)
The Associated Press: McConnell Unveils Stopgap Spending Bill, Anti-Zika Funds
Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said the stopgap measure was "clean" of controversies and he left out internet-related language demanded by Texas GOP Sen. Ted Cruz and Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump. But Democrats immediately blasted the proposal for failing to fund one of their top priorities: money to help Flint, Michigan, repair its lead-tainted water system. (9/22)
Reuters: Senate Splits Over Bill To Avoid Government Shutdown
"We Democrats cannot vote for that," said Senator Barbara Mikulski, top Democrat on the Senate Appropriations Committee. (9/22)
Morning Consult: Senate GOP CR Includes $1.1B For Zika, $37M For Opioids
The spending stopgap measure Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell filed Thursday includes $1.1 billion in emergency funding for the government’s response to the Zika virus, as well as new funding through Dec. 9 to begin implementation of a law meant to curb the nation’s opioid crisis. ... The $1.1 billion for the Zika virus would provide $933 million to the Department of Health and Human Services, including $394 million to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for mosquito control and surveillance and $397 million to the National Institutes of Health for vaccine and diagnostic development. The measure would also provide $175.1 million for state and foreign operations and related programs. (McIntire, 9/22)
The Hill: Funding Bill Includes $37 Million For Opioid Crisis
The short-term funding bill that Senate Republicans released Thursday includes $37 million in new funding to fight the crisis of opioid addiction. Republicans said that the new money would give a head start to setting up programs in the recently passed Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (CARA), preventing the need to wait until the longer-term spending bill is considered in December. (Sullivan, 9/22)
Meanwhile, in Florida —