Photo by Sean Stayte via flickr
Lamar Alexander and Patty Murray are circulating a new “ACA stabilization” plan that in some ways is more ambitious than past efforts and takes into account the repeal of the individual mandate penalty. The senators are trying to get it into the omnibus spending bill Congress wants to pass by March 23.
But success is not very likely at this point. It’s not impossible given all the horse-trading that has to happen to get a huge omnibus spending bill passed, and Alexander, in particular, is persisting. But it definitely is a long shot. Continue reading
As promised, the Trump administration has released a proposed rule to allow short-term health insurance plans that do not conform to all of the Affordable Care Act’s requirements. The Department of Health and Human Services says it’s necessary to give consumers access to more affordable insurance options; many backers of the ACA say it will further undermine already wobbly ACA markets and leave people with inadequate protections in the case of a serious, costly health problem.
So what is a “short-term plan?” Continue reading
When the Affordable Care Act was passed in 2010, one of its clear intents was to create a lot more consistency in health coverage across the country. Coverage wouldn’t be completely uniform and 100 percent Washington-imposed. States would still have a lot of regulatory powers over insurers if they chose to exercise it, and some freedom to experiment and modify their own programs, particularly Medicaid. But the state-to-state disparity in uninsurance rates and access to coverage was supposed to have been ironed out.
That’s not what happened – and under the Trump administration states have even more choices – including new options to undermine the ACA. On April 13 at Health Journalism 2018 in Phoenix, we’ll have a panel called “States and health care in the age of Trump: Wishes and waivers” to look at what will probably be the most pivotal period of state health care activity yet. Continue reading
Remember when Sen. Susan Collins, Maine’s moderate Republican, predicated her vote for the Senate tax bill that included the repeal of the individual mandate on Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s promise to her that the Senate would vote on two ACA stabilization measures?
Those bills did not make it into short-term spending bill at the end of 2017, nor the last month’s short-term spending bill. We aren’t holding our breath that they will be in the next bill, or the one after that. To recap: Continue reading
President Trump says he wants to encourage the formation of “association health plans” that would better enable small employers to band together to purchase more affordable health insurance in the large-group market. On Jan. 4, the Department of Labor published for public comment a proposed rule for such entities, also known as small business health plans.
What will these health plans, which typically would organize under the umbrella of a trade group or other association, look like? Continue reading