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In This Edition:
From Kaiser Health News:
Federal funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Program expired Sept. 30. Many states still have money in their budgets, but they’ll be worried until Congress renews the program. (Phil Galewitz, 10/3)
Hospitals view adding trauma care as a potential profit tool, but experts say more centers do not necessarily improve the system’s ability to respond to a mass casualty event. (Julie Appleby and Phil Galewitz, 10/4)
Kaiser Health News provides a fresh take on health policy developments with "Political Cartoon: 'Sacked?'" by Dan Piraro.
Here's today's health policy haiku:
REMOVING THE INCENTIVE FOR GREED
What would happen if
Pharma were not-for-profit?
No more greedy games?
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:
“It’s very hard for a regulator to deny those rate increases when we can take a look at their bottom line and can tell they can’t continue if they can’t keep their head above water,” said Mike Kreidler, Washington State’s insurance commissioner and a supporter of the health law. Meanwhile, lawmakers are moving forward with bipartisan talks to try to stabilize the marketplace.
The New York Times: With Affordable Care Act’s Future Cloudy, Costs For Many Seem Sure To Soar
Health insurers are aggressively increasing prices next year for individual policies sold under the federal health care law, with some raising premiums by more than 50 percent. By approving such steep increases for 2018 in recent weeks, regulators in many states appeared to be coaxing companies to hang in there, despite turmoil in the market and continuing uncertainty in Congress about the future of the law, the Affordable Care Act. (Abelson, 10/3)
The Hill: GOP Gives Ground In ObamaCare Stabilization Talks
Republicans are willing to provide insurers with two years of ObamaCare subsidies under a bipartisan market stabilization bill, according to the Senate Health Committee chairman. Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) said continuing cost-sharing reduction subsidies for two years is a key part of the stabilization package he is trying to negotiate with Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.). (Weixel, 10/3)
The Hill: Health Industry Pressures Congress To Stabilize Individual Market
The Council for Affordable Health Coverage (CAHC) is urging Congress to take several bipartisan steps to help stabilize the individual insurance markets. In a letter to Democratic and Republican leaders in both chambers, the coalition of drugmakers, insurers and others in the health sector is seeking a federal reinsurance program or a grant program to provide money for state-led reinsurance programs. (Roubein, 10/3)
And in other news —
The Hill: Ex-Obama Officials Launch Group To Sign People Up For ObamaCare
Former Obama administration officials are launching an effort to sign people up for ObamaCare, saying they need to fill the gap left by the Trump administration’s cutbacks. Lori Lodes and Joshua Peck, who oversaw enrollment efforts in the Department of Health and Human Services under President Barack Obama, are launching the group called Get America Covered. (Sullivan, 10/4)
Politico Pro: CMS Official Boasts Of Filling Obamacare 'Bare Counties'
A top CMS official on Tuesday told staff that the agency is “really proud” that there are no counties lacking an Obamacare insurer, saying it was the Trump administration’s goal to make sure every area had at least one company offering plans in the law's exchanges. The comments came from Randy Pate, who was appointed by the administration to helm the office at CMS that oversees Obamacare implementation, on Tuesday afternoon during a meeting of agency staff in which top officials discussed agency priorities, according to a video obtained by POLITICO. (Pradhan, 10/3)
The Star Tribune: Gov. Dayton Makes Second Plea For MinnesotaCare
Gov. Mark Dayton renewed efforts Tuesday to reverse a decision by federal health officials that could cost the state $369 million a year in connection with its MinnesotaCare health insurance program. In a letter to top health regulators in Washington, D.C., Dayton urged them to reconsider a recent decision that would sharply cut the federal funding stream that helps pay for MinnesotaCare. (Howatt, 10/3)
Despite the push by Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-La.) to revive the stalled Republican Graham-Cassidy legislation, Senate leaders and committees have not given any hints that they expect the measure to come up again soon.
Roll Call: Cassidy Eyes Changes To Health Care Bill While Trying To Win Support
Louisiana Sen. Bill Cassidy said there will be changes to a proposal he wrote to overhaul the 2010 health law as he and fellow Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina try to win more support for the measure while other lawmakers focus on tax legislation. ... Cassidy said he and other sponsors need to promote the plan in the coming months so people can learn about the changes the bill would make and better understand it. He said that time could also be used to address concerns of lawmakers such as Arizona GOP Sen. John McCain, who had concerns with the abbreviated process. Neither the Senate Finance Committee nor the Health Education, Labor and Pensions Committee has indicated they have plans to hold more hearings on the bill. (McIntire, 10/3)
Roll Call: CBO Still Expected To Analyze Graham-Cassidy Health Care Measure
The Congressional Budget Office will still release a full analysis of a proposal from four Republican senators that would overhaul the health care system, according to one of the bill’s main sponsors. During an interview for Tuesday’s CQ Roll Call Big Story Podcast, Sen. Bill Cassidy of Louisiana said a full score from the nonpartisan budget office is still expected. He believes that report could help dispel some of the opposition to the legislation. (Williams, 10/2)
Democrats oppose Republicans' efforts to scrap the Affordble Care Act’s prevention fund, which has been criticized as a "slush fund," and don't like the GOP's proposal to remove lottery winners from state Medicaid programs. Meanwhile, states are bracing for the impact if the money is not renewed.
The Associated Press: House GOP Proposes 5-Year Extension For Children's Health
A popular program that provides health insurance for 8.9 million low-income children would get five more years of funding under legislation Republicans plan to push through a House committee this week. The measure comes days after federal funding for the program expired. (10/3)
Politico Pro: House GOP Proposal To Pay For CHIP Program Likely To Rankle Democrats
House Republicans’ package to extend funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Program and other public health programs would use Obamacare’s prevention fund and entitlement programs to pay for it — moves that could threaten bipartisan backing for the bill. Republicans as part of their five-year CHIP funding extension want to increase means-testing in Medicare for wealthier seniors, allow states to remove lottery winners from state Medicaid programs and change Medicaid’s third-party liability policy that dictates who pays claims for enrollees before Medicaid must be responsible for costs. (Pradhan, 10/3)
The New York Times: States Gird For Worst As Congress Wrestles With Children’s Insurance Program
Federal officials on Monday approved a $3.6 million emergency infusion for Minnesota after the state’s human services chief warned that pregnant women and some children were at imminent risk of losing health care coverage under the Children’s Health Insurance Program. Utah, meantime, has formally requested authority to “eliminate eligibility and services under CHIP” if the state does not have enough money to continue coverage. (Pear, 10/3)
Modern Healthcare: States Search For Stopgaps As Congress Misses CHIP Deadline
Now that the federal funding deadline for the Children's Health Insurance Program has lapsed, Minnesota officials have found themselves in an uncomfortable waiting game. The state had expected to run out of money for CHIP in the coming days, but the CMS said it would provide a last-minute reprieve. The federal agency told Minnesota officials that it plans to reallocate some unspent CHIP funds from around the country to states that were expecte
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