Overnight Health Care: Trump backs bipartisan fixes to ObamaCare markets | Sanders proposes lifting Medicaid cap for Puerto Rico | Patient groups urge Senate to reject mandate repeal

Overnight Health Care: Trump backs bipartisan fixes to ObamaCare markets | Sanders proposes lifting Medicaid cap for Puerto Rico | Patient groups urge Senate to reject mandate repeal
© Camille Fine

President Trump at a closed-door meeting with GOP senators on Tuesday said he would support two proposals meant to stabilize ObamaCare's insurance markets in exchange for a repeal of the law's individual mandate, several Republicans in attendance said.

The two bills would fund key ObamaCare insurer payments, and provide billions to help states create reinsurance programs for high-cost patients.

Passage of the measures could prove crucial to winning support for the Senate tax bill, which includes repeal of ObamaCare's mandate, from Sen. Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsOvernight Defense: Pompeo creates 'action group' for Iran policy | Trump escalates intel feud | Report pegs military parade cost at M Hillicon Valley: Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey sits down with The Hill | Drama over naming DHS cyber office | Fallout over revoking Brennan's security clearance | Google workers protest censored search engine for China Trump escalates feud with intelligence officials MORE (R-Maine).

Collins met privately with Trump, Graham and Senate Health Committee Chairman Lamar AlexanderAndrew (Lamar) Lamar AlexanderGovernor's race grabs spotlight in Tennessee primaries A single courageous senator can derail the Trump administration GOP worries trade wars will last as Trump engages in temporary tiffs MORE (R-Tenn.) before the larger meeting. She urged Trump to support the two bills, arguing it would mitigate the effects of repealing the individual mandate. She also met with the president before Thanksgiving.


Collins left the meeting feeling she'd been reassured by Trump that he'd support both bills.

"[Trump] said that he understood the need to have something to offset the premium increases and appeared very open" to signing the two bills into law, she said.

The Maine senator said she, GOP leadership and members of the Finance Committee also met Tuesday to talk about passing the two proposals.

"I think they're eager to help me get to yes," she told reporters after lunch, smiling.

The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office estimated that repealing the mandate would increase premiums by 10 percent and result in 13 million fewer people with insurance.

Read more here.


Sanders proposes lifting Medicaid cap for Puerto Rico

New legislation from Sen. Bernie SandersBernard (Bernie) SandersPollster: Despite flashy headline, Dems haven't become more supportive of socialism Pollster: Dem party 'rift' won't carry on to midterms Pelosi sees defections from an unusual quarter — the left MORE (I-Vt.) would lift the federal cap on Medicaid funding for Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands in an attempt to put the territories on equal footing with the rest of the country.

The provision is part of a $146 billion recovery plan for Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands that Sanders unveiled Tuesday, and could help the territories overcome a major Medicaid funding crisis.

As a result of a funding cap set by Congress decades ago, Puerto Rico effectively receives less than 20 percent in reimbursements for Medicaid. If it were treated as a state, its reimbursement rate would be 83 percent.

Read more here


Patient groups urge Senate to reject mandate repeal

A coalition of 19 patient groups is warning Republican senators against repealing ObamaCare's individual mandate in tax reform.

The letter sent Tuesday, signed by groups including the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, the American Diabetes Association and the American Heart Association, warns of "coverage losses and higher premiums" from repealing the mandate.

The Senate Republican tax reform bill, which is slated for a vote this week, repeals ObamaCare's requirement to have health insurance or pay a fine. Experts warn that would leave only sicker people enrolled, increasing premiums and potentially destabilizing markets.

Read more here.


Arkansas cuts off Medicaid funds to Planned Parenthood following court ruling

Arkansas has once again cut off Medicaid funding to Planned Parenthood following a recent court ruling.

The state's Department of Human Services said it terminated Planned Parenthood's status as a Medicaid provider last week when the court's ruling formally took effect, according to The Associated Press.

A federal appeals court in August vacated an earlier injunction that prevented the state from stopping Medicaid payments to Planned Parenthood and said earlier this month it would not reconsider its decision.

Four circuit courts and numerous district courts in other states have ruled that states can't block Medicaid funds to Planned Parenthood.

Planned Parenthood has not said whether it will appeal the Missouri case to the Supreme Court.

Read more here


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What we're reading

Drugmakers hold key to Puerto Rico's future in tax overhaul (Bloomberg)

Heated and deep-pocketed battle erupts over 340B drug discount program (Kaiser Health News)

Scientist concedes his controversial MS therapy, once a source of great hope, is 'largely ineffective' (Stat)

GOP tax overhaul could diminish research institutions (Modern Healthcare)


State by state

NC taking over embattled mental health agency Cardinal Innovations (Charlotte Observer)

Wisconsin could lose $115 million if Congress doesn't renew children's health program (Journal Sentinel)

Ohio's plan for CHIP as federal funding runs out (WOSU)