Overnight Healthcare: CBO finds 13M more uninsured from repealing mandate | Maine governor won't expand Medicaid despite vote | Chairmen seek hold on giving Pentagon FDA powers

Overnight Healthcare: CBO finds 13M more uninsured from repealing mandate | Maine governor won't expand Medicaid despite vote | Chairmen seek hold on giving Pentagon FDA powers
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Repealing ObamaCare mandate means millions fewer insured: CBO

Repealing ObamaCare's individual mandate would lead to 4 million more uninsured Americans by 2019 and 13 million by 2027, a new estimate from the Congressional Budget Office said, coming as some Republicans favor repealing the requirement as part of their tax overhaul.

The nonpartisan budget office also said a repeal would save $338 billion over 10 years.

It comes after Republicans failed to repeal the health law and have moved onto their bid to rewrite the tax code. But some in the GOP are pushing hard to include repeal of the fee for foregoing health coverage to help fund tax cuts.

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A prior CBO analysis, from December 2016, pegged the savings at $416 million and projected 16 million people would be uninsured by 2026.

Getting rid of the individual mandate means fewer people with health insurance. That means fewer subsidies the government will pay to help people afford their ObamaCare health plans, and thus, savings.

Premiums in the individual insurance market would increase by about 10 percent in most years of the decade, CBO concluded, because repealing the mandate means less healthy people will buy insurance.

Read more here.

 

Maine's governor won't expand Medicaid despite approval of ballot measure

Maine Gov. Paul LePage (R) said Wednesday his administration will not expand Medicaid until the state finds a way to pay for it, a day after voters approved a ballot measure to broaden the program.

"Credit agencies are predicting that this fiscally irresponsible Medicaid expansion will be ruinous to Maine's budget," LePage said in a statement.

"Therefore, my administration will not implement Medicaid expansion until it has been fully funded by the Legislature at the levels [the Department of Health and Human Services] has calculated, and I will not support increasing taxes on Maine families, raiding the rainy day fund or reducing services to our elderly or disabled."

Maine voters on Tuesday approved a ballot measure calling for the state to expand Medicaid under ObamaCare, the first state to do so through a referendum.

LePage, who is term-limited out of office next year, has previously vetoed five Medicaid expansion bills passed by the state's legislature, arguing that such a move would be disastrous for the state's economy.

Maine's House Speaker Sara Gideon (D) said in a statement that the legislature would implement the Medicaid expansion measure, and will fight the governor if he tries to intervene.

Read more here.

 

GOP chairmen seek hold on giving Pentagon new FDA powers

Three GOP chairmen are asking for a delay in moving the defense policy bill's conference report over concerns the measure would let military personnel receive devices and drugs that haven't won Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval.

At issue is a provision in the Senate's National Defense Authorization Act that would let the Pentagon sign off on unapproved medical products for emergency use on the battlefield. Currently, the FDA is responsible for such approvals, and its commissioner, Scott Gottlieb, believes that shouldn't change.

Two chairmen who oversee the FDA in their respective chambers -- Sen. Lamar AlexanderAndrew (Lamar) Lamar AlexanderOvernight Finance: Trump says shutdown 'could happen' | Ryan, conservatives inch closer to spending deal | Senate approves motion to go to tax conference | Ryan promises 'entitlement reform' in 2018 Senate approves motion to go to tax conference House conservatives, Ryan inch closer toward spending deal MORE (R-Tenn.) and Rep. Greg Walden (R-Ore.) -- along with Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Richard BurrRichard Mauze BurrSessions argued presidents can obstruct justice in Clinton impeachment trial Trump Jr. to meet with Senate panel amid Russia probe Trump’s Russian winter grows colder with Flynn plea deal MORE (R-N.C.) are worried about the provision.

They say the measure, "though well-intentioned, could jeopardize the FDA's rigorous and science-based process to ensure the availability of safe treatments and therapies, which may ultimately create more harm than good for those who have risked their lives to defend our nation."

Read more here.

 

Anti-abortion lawmakers push 'Conscience Protection' bill

Anti-abortion lawmakers in the House and Senate are pushing for language in the end-of-year spending bill that they say would protect health-care professionals who don't want to take part in abortions because of their personal objections.

The Conscience Protection Act would allow health-care providers like nurses and doctors to sue if they're coerced into participating in abortions or if they face discrimination at work for refusing to do so.

It would also provide legal recourse for hospitals, health systems, religious charities, churches and insurance companies who are required to participate in or provide coverage for abortion.

Current law prohibits discrimination against health-care providers who refuse to participate in abortions, but doesn't allow for those who say they're discriminated against to pursue legal action.

Read more here.

 

What we're reading

A cheat sheet for Obamacare shopping (Kaiser Health News)

Humana to cut 5.7 percent of workforce amid uncertainty in health care (Bloomberg)

Jimmy Carter: Lack of health care should be a national scandal (Time)

 

State by state

Medicaid expansion was a winner on Tuesday (NBC News)

Health care played big role in Democratic win in Virginia (CNBC)

Maine voters approve Medicaid expansion in a rebuke of Gov. LePage (The New York Times)