In This Edition:
From Kaiser Health News:
Orphan drugs for rare diseases have helped or saved hundreds of thousands of patients like 2-year-old Luke Whitbeck, but families and insurers are picking up the astronomical cost. (Sarah Jane Tribble and Sydney Lupkin, 1/17)
An analysis by the Congressional Budget Office offers an estimate of the effects of the repeal plan offered by congressional Republican in 2015, which may be a blueprint for efforts currently underway to overhaul the health law. (Julie Rovner, 1/17)
More hospitals, including Montefiore Medical Center in New York, are setting up support centers to help stressed-out family members cope. (Melissa Bailey, 1/18)
Some lesser known provisions of the health law — things like calorie counts, lifetime limits and breast-feeding support — could be rolled back by repeal. (1/18)
Kaiser Health News provides a fresh take on health policy developments with "Political Cartoon: 'Need A Lift?'" by Nick Anderson.
Here's today's health policy haiku:
THE IMPACT OF THE GOP HEALTH REPLACEMENT PLAN? A SPIKE IN UNINSURED RATES
Who is keeping track?
The CBO. … What they found
Is not so rosy.
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 House speaker's office called the report "meaningless," but Democrats seized on the dire numbers to drive home their messaging on saving the health law.
The New York Times: Health Law Repeal Could Cost 18 Million Their Insurance, Study Finds
Eighteen million people could lose their insurance within a year and individual insurance premiums would shoot upward if Congress repealed major provisions of the Affordable Care Act while leaving other parts in place, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office said on Tuesday. A report by the office sharply increases pressure on Republicans to come up with a comprehensive plan to replace the health care law. (Pear, 1/17)
Los Angeles Times: Repealing Obamacare Without Replacement Would Hike Premiums 20% And Leave 18 Million Uninsured, Report Says
In the first year, insurance premiums would jump by 20% to 25% for individual policies purchased directly or through the Obamacare marketplace, according to the report. The number of people who are uninsured would increase by 18 million. Those numbers would only increase in subsequent years. Premium prices would continue to climb by 50% the next year, with the uninsured swelling to 27 million, as full repeal took effect, the report said. (Mascaro, 1/17)
The Associated Press: 18 Million More Uninsured If Obamacare Killed, Not Replaced
Spotlighting potential perils for Republicans, the report immediately became a flashing hazard light for this year's effort by Donald Trump and GOP lawmakers to annul Obama's law and — in a more complicated challenge — institute their own alternative. (Fram, 1/17)
The Washington Post: Pressure Mounts On GOP For Post-Obamacare Plan Following CBO Report
Democrats seized on the report, issued Tuesday by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, to discredit Republican efforts to repeal Obamacare and rally Americans who are insured under the program. The report underscored the political peril that Trump faces in trying to meet one of his top campaign promises — and also the discord among Republicans about how to do it. (Eilperin, Sullivan and Goldstein, 1/17)
Politico: Congressional Budget Office: Obamacare Repeal Could Lead To 32 Million Fewer Insured
Republicans are using their 2015 Obamacare repeal bill as a framework for their latest effort, although they have yet to release final details on how much of Obamacare they plan to repeal and what they intend to enact as a replacement. This report is based on the 2015 repeal legislation, and does not take into account any GOP plan that would replace Obamacare. (Haberkorn, 1/17)
USA Today: Congress' Budget Office: 18M Lose Coverage If No Obamacare Replacement
Some of the CBO's previous reports on the ACA have been controversial for how far off they were in their projections of ACA enrollment. But it isn't because of any liberal bias. The office is now headed by Keith Hall, a conservative former economist in the George W. Bush administration who also worked at the free market Mercatus Center at George Mason University.Chris Jacobs, a former Republican congressional policy aide, said in a blog post Tuesday, that CBO's earlier miscalculations undercut its new message. (O'Donnell, 1/17)
Kaiser Health News: Budget Scorekeepers Say GOP Plan Would Raise The Number Of Uninsured By 32M
“CBO and JCT estimate that about half of the nation’s population lives in areas that would have no insurer participating in the nongroup market in the first year after the repeal of the marketplace subsidies took effect,” said the report. And that would rise to “about three-quarters of the population by 2026.” (Rovner, 1/17)
CQ Roll Call: CBO: 32 Million Would Lose Coverage Under Prior GOP Repeal Bill
“[It’s] crystal clear that the Republican effort to repeal the Affordable Care Act will increase health care costs for millions of Americans and kick millions more off of their health insurance. The numbers are even worse than experts could have imagined: tens of millions will lose their health insurance, and individuals will see their premiums double,” Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer of New York, one of the lawmakers that requested the report, said in a statement about CBO’s findings. (Williams, 1/17)
Roll Call: Democrats Use CBO Report to Message Against Obamacare Repeal
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said the CBO report describes a “nightmare” scenario under which “health care costs will explode, Americans in the individual market will see their premiums double by 2026, and the number of uninsured Americans will surge by 18 million in the first year alone and by 32 million by 2026.” The California Democrat added: “Republicans need to wake up to the brutal impact that repealing the ACA will have on the lives of their constituents.” Members of her team and other Democrats picked up on the theme as well. (McPherson, 1/17)
Atlanta Journal-Constitution: CBO Report On Obamacare Repeal Stirs Health Care Battle In Congress
“This projection is meaningless,” said Ashlee Strong, a spokesperson for Speaker Paul Ryan, as she argued the CBO report “takes into account no measures to replace the law nor actions that the incoming administration will take to revitalize the individual market that has been decimated by Obamacare.” “CBO misses the point,” said House Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-LA). “Obamacare will be replaced with lower costs and more choices.” (Dupree, 1/17)
Bloomberg: Obamacare Repeal Would Leave 32 Million Uninsured, Report Finds
Under Obamacare, the uninsured rate fell to 8.9 percent in the first half of 2016, down from 16 percent in 2010 after 20 million people gained coverage. With three days to go until President-elect Donald Trump’s inauguration, the report offers a look at a possible post-repeal landscape. Trump has expressed support for "essentially simultaneously" repealing and replacing Obamacare, and said his own plan is almost complete. But House Speaker Paul Ryan said Friday that passing a new law would be a "thoughtful, step-by-step process." (Greifeld, 1/17)
The Fiscal Times: The Potential Cost Of Obamacare Repeal: 32 Million Without Insurance
Trump and the Republicans have promised a plan that will not only cover as many Americans as the ACA, but will provide even better care at lower costs, while providing wider choice. However, all of the plans put forward so far have been outlines at best, in which hand-waving about the power of market forces does virtually all of the heavy economic lifting. (Garver, 1/17)
The poll started asking about Obamacare in April 2009, and this month marks both the highest percentage of respondents who signaled their approval for the law and the first time that more people surveyed said they like it than dislike it.
The Wall Street Journal: More In U.S. Like ‘Obamacare,’ As Ax Hovers Over It: Poll
Americans are starting to warm up to the Affordable Care Act amid concerns about Republicans’ efforts to dismantle it, a new Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll finds. A new Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll finds that 45% of Americans think the 2012 health law is a “good idea,’’ the highest mark since pollsters began asking about President Barack Obama’s vision for a health overhaul in April, 2009. (Radnofsky, 1/17)
Politico: Poll: Obamacare At Its Most Popular On Eve Of Repeal
The NBC/WSJ poll found that 50 percent of respondents have “little to no confidence that Republican proposals to replace the law will make things better.” Congressional leaders had first advocated repealing the law immediately and leaving open a window before it would take effect so they can take more time to pass a replacement package. Trump and some others, though, have publicly pushed back on that plan. (Conway, 1/17)