Panel will offer state perspectives on ACA’s status

The Trump administration has given states a great deal of flexibility on health care and the Affordable Care Act. What are they doing with it?

That’s one of the questions we’ll explore at Health Journalism 2019 in Baltimore, at a state-themed panel that we’ve been doing every year, and which tends to be pretty lively.

We’ll have a mix of experts who can give us a national overview and state perspectives: Drew Altman, the president and CEO of the Kaiser Family Foundation; Jessica Altman, the Pennsylvania insurance commissioner and vice chair of the Health Insurance and Managed Care Committee of the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC); and Doug Ommen, the insurance commissioner of Iowa.

We’ll talk about what’s next for the ACA, two-and-a-half years into this administration, and what are the surprises about this point in the law’s evolution. We’ll consider the health of the ACA exchanges, the preparations and early trends for next year, the steps states can take to minimize premium spikes and stabilize the markets. We’ll ask whether and how the pending legal battle (the appeal of the Texas ruling that the health law is unconstitutional) injects yet another round of uncertainty for insurers in these markets – or whether uncertainty has just become the norm and health plans more or less discount it as background noise. If they are worried – what steps can states take to genuinely protect people with pre-existing conditions if all or the relevant parts of the statute are in fact thrown out?

We’ll get their perspective on the impact of short-term limited duration plans as well as association health plans are having on the markets, (and the legal and regulatory fights over them).

Neither of the insurance commissioners in these states regulate Medicaid – but we’ll touch on the expansion landscape nationally. And we aren’t bound to address only the ACA individual markets – questions about state steps on drug prices, policies involving surprise bills, and how all the talk and research on social determinants is playing out in the real world are all welcome.

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