Overnight Healthcare: House GOP floats option on Medicaid expansion | Conservatives back ObamaCare plan | CMS offers rule to 'stabilize' markets

Overnight Healthcare: House GOP floats option on Medicaid expansion | Conservatives back ObamaCare plan | CMS offers rule to 'stabilize' markets
© Greg Nash

A key House Republican in the healthcare fight said Wednesday that lawmakers are considering a way to deal with their dilemma on ObamaCare's Medicaid expansion by increasing payments to states that rejected the expansion.

Rep. Brett Guthrie (R-Ky.), the vice chairman of the House Energy and Commerce subcommittee on health, told reporters that one option under consideration is to freeze new enrollment in the 31 states that expanded the program, while increasing certain payments to the 19 states that did not expand it.

The proposal would increase funding known as Disproportionate Share Hospital (DSH) payments in the states that did not expand Medicaid. Meanwhile, expansion states would get to keep the expansion, at least for people currently enrolled. Read more here. http://bit.ly/2ljiTk5

Conservative GOP lawmakers back ObamaCare replacement plan

The conservative House Freedom Caucus backed an ObamaCare replacement plan Wednesday that would abolish many central elements of the law, including the mandate that everyone has coverage or pay a fine.

The replacement proposal, introduced by Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), would also eliminate the essential benefits an insurance plan must cover and eliminate some of ObamaCare's protections for people with pre-existing conditions.

ADVERTISEMENT
The plan would include a tax credit of up to $5,000 per person to fund part of a Health Savings Account to pay for medical care, as well as a provision to allow insurers to sell policies across state lines.

Read more here: http://bit.ly/2ll5gAN

IRS loosening enforcement of ObamaCare mandate

The IRS says it will not reject tax forms from people who fail to answer whether they had health insurance, a sign of loosening up on enforcement of ObamaCare's individual mandate.

Tax forms ask people whether they had health coverage in the previous year to determine whether they need to pay a financial penalty under ObamaCare's mandate to have coverage.

The IRS cited Trump's executive order calling on agencies to ease up on ObamaCare regulations.

"The recent executive order directed federal agencies to exercise authority and discretion available to them to reduce potential burden," the IRS said in a statement to Reason.

"Consistent with that, the IRS has decided to make changes that would continue to allow electronic and paper returns to be accepted for processing in instances where a taxpayer doesn't indicate their coverage status."

Read more here: http://bit.ly/2liUThe

Aetna CEO says ObamaCare in 'death spiral'

The CEO of one of the largest health insurers said Wednesday that ObamaCare is in a "death spiral."

Aetna CEO Mark Bertolini's comments come the day after Humana announced it would not participate in the ObamaCare exchanges in 2018.

"It's not going to get any better; it's getting worse," Bertolini said at a Wall Street Journal event.

"You saw my friend, [CEO] Bruce [Broussard], at Humana say, 'We're out.' "

Humana cited an unbalanced risk pool as its reason for the departure, meaning the company didn't have enough healthy people enrolled in coverage to balance out its sick customers.

"That logic shows just how much the risk pools are deteriorating in the ACA [Affordable Care Act]," Bertolini said.

Read more here: http://bit.ly/2krgzb4

What we're reading

Trump's vaccine commission will likely move forward (Stat News)

Senate nixes Obama-era rule blocking some with disabilities or mental illness from owning guns (The Hill)

What would happen to health spending under ACA? (U.S. News & World Report)

State by state

Connecticut gov wants to protect Planned Parenthood Medicaid funds (Hartford Courant)

Central Illinois facing Medicaid network adequacy 'crisis' (Modern Healthcare)