Overnight Healthcare: Health policy heats up in presidential race

Health policy is getting a new focus in the Republican presidential race this week, with a top conservative health expert joining Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioRubio places hold on number-two Interior nominee over offshore drilling Rubio on Chris Pratt water bottle story: 'I too was caught with a single use plastic water bottle' House votes to sanction Chinese officials over treatment of Uighurs MORE's team a day before rival Jeb Bush is scheduled to lay out his alternative to ObamaCare in a speech. 

Avik Roy, a noted conservative health policy expert, said Monday that he is signing on to the Florida senator's presidential campaign as an adviser. 

Roy was previously an adviser to former Texas Gov. Rick Perry's campaign before Perry dropped out of the race last month. Roy also advised Mitt Romney's presidential campaign in 2012. He joins another conservative policy heavyweight and former Romney adviser, Lanhee Chen, in advising Rubio. 

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On Tuesday, Bush, a former Florida governor, plans to unveil his plan at a speech in New Hampshire. His plan will join a policy outline from Rubio and Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal's 23-page plan. Other Republican candidates have not yet made clear the details of their healthcare plans.  

Roy is a major critic of ObamaCare and has proposed his own alternative plan for "near-universal coverage." 

Rubio outlined an ObamaCare alternative of his own in a Fox News op-ed in March. The plan calls for tax credits to help people afford health insurance. Rubio proposes allowing people with pre-existing conditions to get coverage on special "high-risk pool" plans subsidized by the government. This is an alternative to ObamaCare's system of pairing a mandate for people to purchase insurance with a ban on denying coverage based on pre-existing health conditions. 

Roy wrote in Forbes in April that Rubio's plan "embraces the conservative wonk consensus" and "goes in the right direction." He also outlined a few "concerns." One main concern was that Rubio was silent on whether the tax credits in his plan would be "means-tested," meaning that poorer people get more assistance than richer people.

Roy worried that non-means-tested tax credits would reduce aid for low-income people. Read more here.

CRUNCH TIME IN UTAH FOR MEDICAID EXPANSION The conservative group Americans for Prosperity (AFP) is stepping up its attacks on ObamaCare’s Medicaid expansion as the decisionmaking enters a crucial phase in Utah. 

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AFP, backed by conservative donors Charles and David Koch, is launching new mail pieces sent to the constituents of roughly a dozen Utah state lawmakers. 

Republicans in the state House of Representatives are scheduled to meet on Tuesday to weigh their support for a compromise Medicaid expansion plan negotiated among legislative leaders and Gov. Gary Herbert (R), who has for months been looking for a way to expand the program. 

The compromise plan would expand eligibility for Medicaid under ObamaCare to people with incomes up to 138 percent of the poverty line, about $33,000 for a family of four. However, instead of the usual system of government-provided insurance, the compromise would give people financial assistance to buy private insurance plans. Arkansas expanded Medicaid with a similar system. 

The compromise would also help pay for expansion with a new tax on health providers, under the theory that they stand to gain from having newly-insured patients. Read more here.

HEALTHCARE.GOV TO HONOR DO NOT TRACK REQUESTS HealthCare.gov is going to honor Do Not Track requests this enrollment season.

The Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services, which runs the ObamaCare website, said that it would not track users who turn on the browser setting requesting not to be tracked. It will also not load third-party tools for those users so that they do not have to worry about those outside pieces of software tracking them.

It’s part of a larger effort by the healthcare marketplace to focus on user privacy. A new page will let users opt out of different third-party advertising tools. Read more here

Tuesday's schedule

Jeb Bush lays out an alternative to ObamaCare in a speech in New Hampshire

The Democratic presidential debate could touch on proposals to build on ObamaCare

State by State

Wisconsin Legislature taking up bills targeting Planned Parenthood  

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Cuomo sends New York Medicaid expert to Puerto Rico to assist

Utah says it has right to end Planned Parenthood contracts

What we're reading

ObamaCare's impact on employment: An early look

How the largest ObamaCare co-op went broke

Push in Colorado for single-payer healthcare

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