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Benefits in the News > By Subject >

Health plans - policy


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[Opinion] The Affordable Care Act: Chapter Two
"As we now pivot to Chapter Two for the [ACA], the realities are these: [1] The healthcare system needs improvement. Affordability is the issue one.... [2] The [ACA] has flaws. It successfully increased coverage for 20 million who were uninsured via Medicaid expansion and subsidized coverage for individuals via the marketplaces, but at a hefty price -- $1.1 trillion over 10 years -- and the rules whereby insurers are required to structure and price their plans are problematic.... [3] The strength of our economies--locally and nationally -- is closely tied to the effectiveness of our health system." (Paul Keckley)
Judge Open to Anthem's Consumer Benefit Claim
"Anthem argued before a panel of three judges in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit that a district court ruling blocking the merger was wrong because it ignored the $2.4 billion in medical cost savings the company says it can wrestle from doctors and hospitals. U.S. Circuit Judge Brett Kavanaugh appeared most convinced by the insurer's argument that the deal would lead to savings that could be passed on to consumers. He also seemed persuaded that those savings could be good for competition." [U.S.A. v. Anthem Inc., No. 17-05024, (D.C. Cir. filed Feb. 10, 2017)] (Bloomberg BNA)
More Than Obamacare Repeal, Small Businesses Want Congress to Rein in Costs
"As a bloc, small-business owners have been among the health care law's most vocal opponents.... But every business is uniquely affected by the complex law, and simply demolishing it without putting new guardrails in place is not, for most, the ideal outcome. Small-business owners overwhelmingly say they want Republican and Democratic leaders to quit their partisan bickering, acknowledge that the country's health care economics are fundamentally broken, and work together on fixing the problem." (The New York Times; subscription may be required)
House Pulls AHCA Minutes After Expected Vote
"There are a few possible 'next steps' ... [1] Retain the ACA.... [2] Nothing would stop Congress from further negotiations to attempt to drum up more votes.... [3] Republicans might attempt to add piecemeal repeal efforts into future legislation, or to address those components on a stand-alone basis.... [4] Even in the absence of a comprehensive repeal or reconciliation effort, the Administration retains great flexibility, through regulatory action, to water down various provisions of the ACA." (Seyfarth Shaw LLP)
[Opinion] What Comes Next for Obamacare? The Case for Medicare for All
"[T]he repeal effort's biggest hurdle may have been loss aversion, one of the most robust findings in behavioral science. As numerous studies have shown, the pain of losing something you already have is much greater than the pleasure of having gained it in the first place.... Part of the appeal of Medicare for all is that single-payer systems reduce financial incentives that generate waste and abuse." (Robert H. Frank in The New York Times; subscription may be required)
House Leaders �Came Up Short� In Effort To Kill Obamacare
"The legislation was damaged by a variety of issues raised by competing factions of the party. Many members were nervous about reports by the [CBO] showing that the bill would lead eventually to 24 million people losing insurance, while some moderate Republicans worried that ending the ACA's Medicaid expansion would hurt low-income Americans. At the same time, conservatives, especially the hard-right House Freedom Caucus ... complained that the bill kept too much of the ACA structure in place." (Kaiser Health News)
Perspectives for Employers on the Proposal for Health Reform About to Be Voted on in the House
"It is important to remember that [Friday's] scheduled vote is only the House voting on this proposal, there are still a number of steps and votes and committee conferences that will need to take place before we actually have any change to the law.... The purpose of this alert is solely to look at the potential impact of the 2017 Bill as it is currently drafted and what it might mean for employers and their group health plans and retiree medical plans. We are still a long way from final legislation approved by both the House and Senate[.]" (Winstead PC)
House Republicans Tweak AHCA Again; CBO Scores Earlier Changes
"The amendment would first delay the repeal of the [ACA]'s additional Medicare tax on the wages of taxpayers exceeding $250,000 a year ($200,000 for single filers) from 2017 to 2022, and repeal a transition rule applying to the withholding of this tax by employers for 2017. This measure would raise about $50 billion in revenue. Second, the amendment would make a number of changes to the AHCA's Patient and State Stability Fund. Under the amendment, states would be able to use the fund for reducing the cost of insurance coverage in the individual and small group market for individuals who have high health insurance costs due to the low population density of states where they reside.... Finally, the amendment revises the section of the ACA defining essential health benefits (EHB)." (Health Affairs)
Essential Health Benefits: What Could Their Elimination Mean?
"This comprehensive a repeal of the ACA would have far-ranging consequences for our health care system ... The full effect of the repeal of Title I or any of its protections would depend on what would happen to prior law and on interactions with state law.... Repeal of any particular provision of Title I, moreover, would be like pulling a thread from woven fabric -- it could have implications throughout the law that are difficult to predict, as is the case with repeal of the essential health benefits requirement," (Health Affairs)
CBO and JCT Cost Estimate on the American Health Care Act, Incorporating Manager's Amendments 4, 5, 24, and 25
"The provisions dealing with health insurance coverage would reduce deficits, on net, by $883 billion; the noncoverage provisions would increase deficits by $733 billion, mostly by reducing revenues.... [In] 2018, 14 million more people would be uninsured under the legislation than under current law.... In 2026, an estimated 52 million people under age 65 would be uninsured, compared with 28 million who would lack insurance that year under current law.... In 2018 and 2019 ... average premiums for single policyholders in the nongroup market would be 15 percent to 20 percent higher under the legislation than under current law. By 2026, average premiums for single policyholders in the nongroup market would be roughly 10 percent lower than under current law." (Congressional Budget Office [CBO] and Joint Committee on Taxation [JCT])
2015 Commercial Health Insurance: Overview of Financial Results
"This report provides an overview of health insurer financial results in 2015 and evaluates changes in the health insurance industry's expense structure and enrollment relative to prior years. It also explores impacts to the insurance markets from the insurance marketplaces and the [ACA] 3R programs. In addition, the report reviews marketplace enrollment and associated subsidies from 2014 through 2016 in the context of the aggregate individual health insurance market." (Milliman)
The Consequences of Taxing Healthcare Benefits
"[M]ore than 92 percent of those responding to the survey are against any policy that would tax workers, their families and employers on a portion of health plan premiums.... Three quarters of respondents said they would definitely reduce benefits or consider it, to avoid triggering new taxes on health benefits. Nearly 90 percent indicated they would avoid increasing benefits if it meant triggering a tax.... Only 6 percent said they would increase wages to make up for a reduction in benefits." (Lockton)
Will ACA Repeal Efforts Impact Executive Pay Practices?
"The American Health Care Act [AHCA] proposes to repeal the $500,000 cap on the deduction health insurers can take for executive pay.... [The AHCA also] proposes to eliminate the additional 3.8 percent tax on net investment income of certain highly compensated individuals.... [The Act] proposes to eliminate the additional 0.9 percent Medicare tax on wages paid to certain highly compensated individuals." (Bloomberg BNA)
House Passes Small Business Health Fairness Act
"The House of Representatives [on March 22] passed the Small Business Health Fairness Act (H.R. 1101) ... [T]he legislation empowers small businesses to band together though association health plans (AHPs) and negotiate for lower health insurance costs on behalf of their employees. The bill passed by a vote of 236 to 175." (Committee on Education and the Workforce, U.S. House of Representatives)
As Rivals Stand Silent, One Health Insurer Protests GOP Plan
"[Dr. J. Mario Molina] has become one of the few insurance executives publicly criticizing the [AHCA], which he believes could strip away coverage for millions of their clients and cause considerable turmoil for the insurance industry. The major insurers have mostly stayed silent during the debate, supporting some of the Republicans' provisions that promise near-term stability for the insurance exchanges and a repeal of a tax on health insurance." (The New York Times; subscription may be required)
Health Care Priorities from a National Academy of Medicine Initiative (PDF)
31 pages. "Health care today is marked by structural inefficiencies, unprecedented costs, and fragmented care delivery ... Locally and nationally, new models of care delivery and payment are emerging that seek to reduce waste by rewarding value over volume, are more patient-centric, and are driving better care coordination and integration.... This paper synthesizes the range of compelling opportunities ... and presents strategic priorities for the next Administration and the nation's health leaders to undertake now and in the years ahead." (National Academy of Medicine)
[Opinion] The Reality of CBO's American Health Care Act Coverage Projection
"[T]he 24 million figure for coverage loss is a combination of people who do not want coverage and will choose not to have it if allowed, shaky guesses at employer behavior that have not come to pass previously, people whose coverage could be disrupted but for whom the law provides alternatives, people who do not even have coverage today, but who might possibly gain coverage in an alternate future, as well as about 4 million who may lose their current coverage due to changes to the Medicaid program. A far cry from 24 million people being stripped of their health care." (American Action Forum)
IRS Plans to Begin Issuing 'Sub-Regulatory' Guidance Again
"The [IRS] is continuing to have productive conversations with the Treasury Department and the Office of Management and Budget, said IRS Commissioner John Koskinen. And 'as we've been having discussions, we have made clear -- and people have agreed -- that a lot of the sub-regulatory guidance we issue is really for the benefit of the taxpayers,' he said March 21 ... 'I think we will begin to issue some greater guidance in those areas.' " (Bloomberg BNA)
Why Deductibles Would Rise Under the GOP Health Care Plan
"[T]he average deductible for a typical plan in the non-group market under the GOP plan would be about $1,550 higher in 2017 than it would have been under the [ACA] ... Most of the debate has been about what would happen to premiums -- but for consumers, it's total out-of-pocket costs that matter.... The result: premiums may be lower in some cases, but deductibles will go up." (Drew Altman, Kaiser Family Foundation, via Axios)
Require Continuous Health Insurance Coverage in 2017, Insurers Say
"The American Health Care Act ... includes a provision under which people would pay a 30 percent surcharge ... for any year they went longer than 63 days in a 12-month period without coverage. But health insurers and the [CBO] say the provision isn't punitive enough to keep people from waiting until they get sick to enroll." (Bloomberg BNA)
[Opinion] House Proposal to Promote Association Health Plans Poses Risks for Insurance Markets, Consumers
"The Small Business Health Fairness Act, H.R. 1101 [see Fact Sheet], allows small employers to band together and buy health insurance though federally certified associations. Despite its name, the bill would have a considerable and likely detrimental impact on the private health insurance market and undermine the ability of states to protect small employers and their employees." (The Commonwealth Fund)
What's in the Manager's Amendment to the American Health Care Act?
"It consists of two sets of amendments, labeled technical changes ([ with an accompanying summary]) and policy changes ([with an accompanying summary]).... The amendments add an additional year to the relief the AHCA offered from the 'Cadillac' plan excise tax ... and accelerate the repeal of all other ACA taxes from 2018 to 2017.... Another provision clarifies that the 30 percent of premium penalty imposed on consumers who seek coverage after a gap in coverage applies only in the individual and not in the small group market.... [M]uch of the $337 billion in deficit reduction that the CBO credited to the AHCA disappears under the manager's amendment." (Health Affairs)
[Opinion] House Obamacare Repeal Bill Limits HSAs for Millions of Americans
"The House Republican American Health Care Act Managers Amendment would not allow Americans to use their tax credits to fund an HSA. Instead of using their tax credit/HSA to pay for doctor visits, prescriptions and OTC drugs, Americans will only be allowed to use their credit for insurance. This is a big mistake -- and a giveaway to insurers." (National Center for Policy Analysis Health Policy Blog)
[Opinion] How Employer-Provided Healthcare Is Strangling Consumers
"Today, it's hard to imagine health insurance markets without corporate employers as the predominant purchasers. But it is not at all obvious that employers ought to provide health insurance as a benefit, or that such a system would have materialized (particularly on such a scale) were it not for the harmful wage controls of the World War II era." (David D�Amato, in The Hill)
Text of House Budget Committee Report on American Health Care Act
"Repealing Obamacare merely begins the process of establishing truly patient-centered health care in America -- and aspects of both are contained in this legislation ... [The AHCA] is just one component of a broader effort to transform the Nation's troubled health care network. It will be supplemented by other elements, described [in this report]." (Committee on the Budget, U.S. House of Representatives)
Providing a Better Way on Health Care for Small Businesses, Working Families
"Because of their size, small businesses lack the same level of bargaining power available to large businesses and labor organizations. And they are unable to band together to increase their bargaining power to help lower health care costs for their workers. The Small Business Health Fairness Act (H.R. 1101) [see Fact Sheet] ... empowers small businesses to band together through association health plans to negotiate for lower health insurance costs on behalf of their employees." (Committee on Education and the Workforce, U.S. House of Representatives)
House Republicans Announce Updates to Strengthen American Health Care Act
"To provide more immediate help, the amendment accelerates repealing the Obamacare taxes to 2017, rather than 2018.... Under current law, Americans can deduct from their taxes the cost of medical expenses that exceed 10 percent of their income. Our proposed amendment reduces this threshold to 5.8 percent of income.... This amendment would allow states to opt out of the per capita [Medicaid] allotment baseline and instead receive federal funds through a block grant.... [T]he amendment would prevent new states from opting in to Obamacare's Medicaid expansion." (Committee on Ways and Means, U.S. House of Representatives)
GOP Recycles Controversial 2003 Bill To Boost Small-Business Insurance
"The bill would allow the establishment of nationwide 'association health plans' that could be offered by professional or trade groups, chambers of commerce and the like. Small businesses could buy coverage through these associations, in theory gaining strength in numbers to enhance their bargaining leverage with insurers, leading to cheaper, better coverage and lower administrative costs. The Small Business Health Fairness Act of 2017 is slated to head to the House floor this week." (Kaiser Health News)
The Unfolding Medicaid Story: Congress, Governors, and the Trump Administration
"Over a half century, federal and state policymakers alike have turned to Medicaid because its flexible structure repeatedly has offered the ability to nimbly respond to social problems as they emerge ... Thus, how to change Medicaid's growth trajectory without weakening its unique and indispensable qualities represents perhaps the most significant of all U.S. health policy challenges. The rest of the nation's intensely market-driven system, as well as Medicare, rests on Medicaid's features and capabilities. The debate over Medicaid is now playing out on three fronts." (Health Affairs)
Would Proposed Law Require Genetic Testing for Employees?
"The House may soon vote on the Preserving Employee Wellness Programs Act, which its sponsors say would clarify conflicting rules for incentives paid to employees who participate in voluntary health screenings, some of which may be genetic health tests.... [O]pponents ... claim the measure would compel employees to undergo genetic testing, leaving them vulnerable to discrimination by their employers. A nonpartisan could be forgiven for wondering how both sides could be talking about the same legislation." (Society for Human Resource Management [SHRM])
ERISA Attorney Fee Awards: What Are 'Reasonable Hours' for a Plaintiff's Attorney to Spend on a Summary Judgment Motion?
"The Court reduced the hourly rates and approved the following rates: lead attorney -- $300; associate attorney $175; paralegal $90 per hour.... For the summary judgment motion and related pleadings alone, Plaintiff's attorney billed a total of 163.2 combined hours ... 'The Court finds that this is excessive in light of what other district courts have found reasonable for litigating a case through summary judgment.' ... The Court allowed only 85 hours for the lead attorney's time spent on the summary judgment, and excluded time spent by the associate and paralegal as duplicative. " [Standish v. Federal Express Corp. LTD Plan and Aetna Life Ins. Co., No. 15-6226 (W.D.N.Y. Mar. 6, 2017)] (Lane Powell PC)
House GOP Health Plan Would Accelerate Depletion of Medicare Trust Fund by Four Years
"The House bill to repeal the [ACA] would move up the Medicare's Hospital Insurance trust fund's depletion from 2028 to 2024. Repealing a payroll tax on high earners would advance the depletion date by three years ... Additional Medicare payments to hospitals that serve many uninsured payments would advance it one more year[.]" (Center on Budget and Policy Priorities)
HHS Launches Web Page Highlighting Administrative Actions to Empower Patients
"New measures will be announced as soon as is allowable by law. In particular, future actions will: [1] Lower costs and increase choices by providing relief from the burdensome regulations and fostering competition in insurance markets; [2] Work to ensure a stable transition period; [3] Offer states greater flexibility of their Medicaid programs to meet the needs of their most vulnerable populations; and [4] Increase the opportunities for patients to get the care they need when they need it." (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services [HHS])
Happy Anniversary ACA!
"This Thursday, March 23, marks the seventh anniversary of the passage of the [ACA]. It also marks the date the House will vote on its partial replacement, the American Health Care Act [AHCA].... Amidst the clamor of the current debate ... it's useful to harken back to the circumstances under which the ACA passed and reflect on what might be learned." (Paul Keckley)
Ask Your Doctor If It's Right for You: Prescription Drug Costs -- and TV Ads -- on the Rise
"[Pharmaceutical advertising] exceeded $6 billion last year, with television picking up the lion's share ... [T]he ads inevitably promote high-priced drugs, some of which doctors say have limited practical utility for the average patient-viewer.... Critics say the ads encourage patients to ask their doctors for expensive, often marginal -- and sometimes inappropriate -- drugs that are fueling spiraling health care spending." (Kaiser Health News)
Prominent Health Lawyers Offer Help for Obamacare Reform
"The most recent group to weigh in calls itself Health Lawyers for Responsible Reform, and consists of 10 of the last 17 attorneys to chair the American Bar Association's Health Law Section.... Although the group advocated against a blanket repeal of the ACA, it didn't go so far as to oppose any effort to reform the health-care law. Instead the members provided 16 principles that they believe should guide any future legislative efforts beyond the current Republican plan being debated in Congress." (Bloomberg BNA)
How Will the Proposed AHCA Be Different from the ACA for Employers?
"The AHCA would eliminate penalties imposed on employers with at least 50 full-time equivalent employees when one or more of their full-time employees obtains a premium tax credit through a health insurance exchange. The elimination would be retroactive to 2016.... The AHCA would delay implementation of the ACA's so-called Cadillac Tax ... The AHCA would repeal the ACA's maximum contribution of $2,500 to a health FSA that is part of a cafeteria plan as soon as tax year 2017. The AHCA also would repeal the tax on over-the-counter-medication without a prescription, allowing cafeteria plan participants to purchase over-the-counter medication with health FSA funds." (Bloomberg BNA)
Employer-Backed Insurance Could Take a Huge Hit from GOP Healthcare Plan
"With tax credits for workers earning up to $215,000, the Republicans' health care plan would push the incentives for companies not to offer benefits further up the income spectrum ... If a wider pool of employees opts to take the tax credit and enter the individual market, companies would have a tougher time negotiating with insurers for coverage that is both affordable and comprehensive, with less-attractive offerings leading even more workers to forgo the benefit." (NBC News)
Republicans Focusing on Health Bill Changes as Leaders Seek Support
"Major changes include making tax credits to help people afford insurance [that's] more generous for low-income people or adults between ages 50 and 64, adding some sort of Medicaid work requirements and adding a block grant option for Medicaid funding." (Morning Consult)
[Opinion] High-Risk Pools Do Not Serve Consumers Well (PDF)
"Current proposals to subsidize high-risk pools fall far short.... [O]ne recent health reform bill would establish state high-risk pools and allocate $3 billion over three years to fund them. Another recent proposal offered $25 billion over 10 years to fund them.... [It] would cost at least $178 billion a year to adequately fund high-risk pools today[.]" (AARP)
Many Provisions in the American Health Care Act Affect Plan Sponsors (PDF)
Presented as a 7-page chart. Columns include a description of the provision, its background, its location in the AHCA, and its potential effect on plan sponsors. Provisions include the Cadillac Tax, over-the-counter medications, HSA tax, FSA limit, annual fee on health insurance providers, prescription drug fee, medical device tax, deduction for retiree prescription drug costs, remuneration paid by health insurance providers, and six more. (Eversheds Sutherland)
[Opinion] The Economic Effects of Repealing the ACA
"[CBO] recently analyzed the effect of repealing and replacing the [ACA] on federal revenues and the uninsured. There was much hype about their conclusions that 24 million people would be added to the ranks of the uninsured (although about 14 million of those would choose not to buy insurance because they would no longer be forced to). Also, federal deficits would fall by $337 billion over 10 years. However, the CBO did not measure the economic effects of repealing some of the most burdensome aspects of Obamacare, which would create hundreds of thousands of jobs and increase Americans' personal incomes." (National Center for Policy Analysis [NCPA])
U.S. Could Drive Down Drug Prices By Exercising Patent Rights
"When the federal government -- through an agency like the National Institutes of Health -- pays for medical research that leads to an invention that can be patented, federal law gives the government a license to use that intellectual property ... as a check, to ensure that the medicines are available to the public on 'reasonable terms.' But ... the government has never used [that] authority." (National Public Radio)
House Panel Calls for Medicaid Work Requirement, Tax Credit Changes in Health Bill
"Three of the motions, which passed along party lines, were aimed at establishing requirements for Medicaid enrollment, while a fourth would allow more generous tax credits to help low-income people afford insurance. The motions were nonbinding recommendations that could be proposed on the House floor as amendments or incorporated into the bill, the American Health Care Act, when it goes before the Rules Committee ... The recommendations came after the committee at the outset of the meeting narrowly voted to advance the bill, 19-17[.]" (U.S. News & World Report)
CRS Report: The American Health Care Act (PDF)
18 pages. "This report includes three tables that, together, provide an overview of the AHCA provisions. Table 1 includes provisions that apply to the private health insurance market, Table 2 includes provisions that affect the Medicaid program, and Table 3 includes provisions related to public health and taxes. Each table contains a column identifying whether the AHCA provision repeals or amends an ACA-related provision." [Report R44786, Mar. 14, 2017) (Congressional Research Service [CRS])
Improvements in Access and Quality Nationwide Following ACA's Major Coverage Expansions
"The uninsured rate among low-income working-age adults dropped an average of 14.1 percentage points in states that expanded Medicaid, compared to 8.9 points in nonexpansion states. The percentage of low-income adults who said they went without care because of its cost dropped an average of 5.5 points in expansion states compared to 2.3 points in nonexpansion states.... Some Medicaid expansion states saw gains beyond coverage." (The Commonwealth Fund)
[Opinion] What the CBO Gets Wrong About the House GOP's Obamacare Repeal Bill
"CBO's new estimate neglects the behavioral effects that would result from the Republican plan. By dismantling Obamacare, insurance companies would be able to offer a wider variety of plans and people would be more enthusiastic about buying them. CBO states that average premiums would decline after 2020, and this would lead to more enrollment." (Manhattan Institute for Policy Research)
[Opinion] America's Employers Play a Vital Role in the 'Repeal and Replace' Debate
"Employers are uniquely positioned to help control healthcare spending and promote positive health outcomes. They have long provided the tools employees need to become fiscally responsible insurance consumers, and they are a trusted source of health information and resources. That is why policymakers should view this health reform 'reboot' as an opportunity to partner with American businesses to address the underlying causes of healthcare cost growth.... [L]egislators should reject policies that merely shift costs to private payers or vulnerable consumers. They should push for new policies and regulations that encourage responsible consumer health spending, transparency in healthcare pricing, and use of value-based models." (The Hill)
The Economic Effects of Repealing and Replacing the ACA (PDF)
15 presentation slides. "Repealing ACA and replacing it with the House Plan would by 2027: [1] Increase real GDP by $426 billion, or 1.5%. [2] Increase private sector employment by 940,000, or 0.49%. [3] Increase personal income by $185 billion, or 0.76%. [4] Reduce federal revenue by $132 billion, or 2.51%." (The Beacon Hill Institute, for National Center for Policy Analysis [NCPA])
Early Perceptions of AHCA Show Public Thinks It Would Cover Fewer People and Raise Health Costs
"Fielded March 6-12 as Americans were first learning about the American Health Care Act [AHCA] and before the [CBO] estimated its effects, ... large shares of the public expect the House Republican health care plan would result in fewer people having health insurance and higher costs for people who buy their own health insurance. Republicans are generally more likely to expect positive results from the plan while Democrats and independents are more likely to foresee negative ones." (Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation)
The Latest: The American Health Care Act
16 presentation slides outline provisions of the proposed American Health Care Act (AHCA) and other legislative and administrative proposals for ACA changes. (American Benefits Council)
Employment and Benefits Law Developments of the First 100 Days, Part Two
"The ACA (aka Obamacare): ... What Would Stay The Same? ... What Might Change For Employer Plans? ... What Should Employers Do Now?" (Gray Plant Mooty)
CBO Exchange Enrollment Projections Over Time
Graph shows CBO Obamacare exchange enrollment projections over time, compared to actual enrollment figures (through 2016) and future enrollment projections provided by The Foundation for Research on Equal Opportunity. (Energy and Commerce Committee, U.S. House of Representatives)
[Opinion] Obamacare Replacement Debate: Fewer People Will Be Covered and Many Will See Big Cost Increases
"The House Republican plan does a much better job than Obamacare in providing health insurance to the working and middle class. But it does a much worse job in affording access to affordable health insurance to those with low incomes. Obamacare was a massive transfer of wealth from the better off to those with low incomes -- and was very unpopular among the middle class because of that. The House Republican plan is just shifting much of that from the Democratic base back to the Republican base. If it becomes law, we'll just have a different group of people upset." (Bob Laszewski's Health Care Policy and Marketplace Review)
Statement of HHS Secretary Tom Price on CBO Report
"For there to be the reductions in coverage they project in just the first year, they assume five million Americans on Medicaid will drop off of health insurance for which they pay very little, and another nine million will stop participating in the individual and employer markets. These types of assumptions do not translate to the real world, and they do not accurately estimate the effects of this bill. "The CBO report also does not incorporate two-thirds of the healthcare reform plan President Trump has called for -- specifically the regulatory relief HHS can provide and the additional legislative reforms Congress is and will be pursuing." (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services [HHS])
Companies Behind Health Savings Accounts Could Bank on Big Profits Under GOP Plan
"Industry officials are eager to reach new markets, including baby boomers in Medicare and enrollees in the military's Tricare system, for whom -- under current law -- HSAs are off-limits. They also want to manage larger accounts that generate more revenue. Republican proposals in Congress could help accomplish both." (Kaiser Health News)
Health Policy Expert Is Confirmed as Medicare and Medicaid Administrator
"By a vote of 55 to 43, the Senate approved the nomination of [Seema Verma] to be the administrator of [CMS], which spends more than $1 trillion a year on programs providing health care to more than one-third of all Americans." (The New York Times; subscription may be required)
[Opinion] Analyzing the CBO Report on the American Health Care Act
" 'In 2020, CBO and JCT estimate, the average subsidy under the legislation would be about 60 percent of the average subsidy under current law. In addition, the average subsidy would grow more slowly under the legislation than under current law.' ... This is a significant improvement on PPACA in terms of fostering more individual responsibility and keeping deficits under control." (Benefit Revolution)
The Proposed American Health Care Act and Its Potential Impact on Employers (PDF)
"[This article provides] a summary of the primary provisions of the AHCA as it stands now, obstacles that may lead to changes prior to adoption and what the main provisions mean to employers." (Deloitte)
[Opinion] Explaining Health Policy to the General Public
"[On] some level every issue discussed in health policy relates to one of the following four fundamental and interrelated questions: How should the health care economy be organized? How should health care be financed? What should govern the availability and pricing of health care services? What should govern the availability and pricing of vehicles used to finance health care (e.g., insurance)?" (The Actuary Magazine)

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