Overnight Healthcare: GOP chairman to introduce pre-existing condition bill

Overnight Healthcare: GOP chairman to introduce pre-existing condition bill
© Greg Nash

The Republican chairman of a key healthcare committee will introduce a bill next week aimed at protecting people with pre-existing conditions in the event that ObamaCare is repealed.

"We want to make sure that people with pre-existing conditions continue to get covered," House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Greg Walden (R-Ore.) said on CNN Thursday. "In fact, I'll introduce a bill next week that will provide and reaffirm that commitment from Republicans."

The bill is a sign that some Republicans are trying to protect one of the most popular aspects of ObamaCare, even as they move forward with plans to repeal the law. How to deal with the pre-existing condition protections while repealing ObamaCare is a thorny issue for Republicans.


A Democratic aide familiar with a version of the bill said that the measure would provide for an enrollment period during which people with pre-existing conditions could get coverage. However, the aide said, if there has been a gap where a person lacked coverage, then insurers could charge that person any price for insurance.

That kind of protection for people who maintain "continuous coverage" is a common feature of Republican plans and provides an alternative incentive to get coverage aside from ObamaCare's mandate for everyone to have coverage. But ObamaCare also protects people with pre-existing conditions who are uninsured and signing up for the first time.

The Democratic aide said that the bill is incomplete and more details need to be filled in. Read more here. http://bit.ly/2k8Ri4u

Trump administration cancels ObamaCare ads 

The Trump administration has cancelled any remaining ObamaCare advertising and outreach planned for the final days of the sign-up period, according to Politico.

The move could negatively affect enrollment, given that many people wait until close to the Jan. 31 deadline to sign up. Politico reported that even ads that have already been paid for have been cancelled. 

The move is an indication that the Trump administration could be seeking ways to undermine the law even before action from Congress to repeal it.

Some Democrats reacted with anger, saying the Trump administration was simply trying to sabotage the law.

"They're deliberately trying to undermine enrollment which was growing," Topher Spiro, vice president for Health Policy at the liberal Center for American Progress, wrote on Twitter. "Healthy enrollment would disprove their false claim of a death spiral." Read more here: http://bit.ly/2juWn60

Trump tells GOP he thought about leaving ObamaCare alone

President Trump on Thursday acknowledged to a roomful of congressional Republicans that there is a political "risk" to gutting ObamaCare, and that he contemplated leaving the healthcare law alone for two years.

Trump then said that Republicans must quickly repeal and replace the law to prevent it from imploding, but his doubts were striking given that Hill Republicans, for the past seven years, have made it their top mission to roll back ObamaCare.

Trump twice mentioned how repealing ObamaCare would take the political heat off of Democrats and put it on the GOP.

"I actually talked with Paul [Ryan] and the group about just doing nothing for two years, and the Dems would come begging to do something because '17 is going to be catastrophic price increases, your deductibles are through the roof, you can't use them, and they will come to us," Trump said at annual GOP retreat in Philadelphia. Read more here. http://bit.ly/2kyjCKd

Poll: Just 15 percent of doctors want ObamaCare repealed

The vast majority of doctors do not want ObamaCare to be repealed, a new survey finds.

Just 15 percent of primary care doctors surveyed by researchers at the University of Pennsylvania want the healthcare law to be repealed. Even among doctors who voted for President Trump, less than half -- 38 percent -- want the law to be repealed.

The survey, the results of which were published in the New England Journal of Medicine, also finds strong support for several provisions of ObamaCare. Read more here. http://bit.ly/2j9vHcy

Sylvia BurwellSylvia Mary Mathews BurwellBogeymen of the far left deserve a place in any Biden administration The swamp wasn't drained — it expanded Pence, Fauci to brief lawmakers on coronavirus MORE to be next president of American University

Former Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell will be the next president of American University in Washington, D.C.

Burwell, who directed the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) from 2014 until the end of President Obama's second term, will begin her new job on June 1, the university announced Thursday.

Burwell, who will become the university's first female president, was picked after a "very competitive" national search, the university said in a statement.

"My family and I are honored and excited to become a part of this vibrant AU community," Burwell said. Read more here. http://bit.ly/2juBCaO

What we're reading

What ObamaCare repeal could mean for Medicaid (Bloomberg)

Clinics for world's vulnerable prepare for Trump's anti-abortion cuts (New York Times)

Republicans have plans to replace ObamaCare--now they need to agree on one (NPR)

State by State

Maryland moves to limit opioid painkillers (Stateline)

Ohio hospitals, Medicaid providers concerned about Trump administration's block grant plans (cleveland.com)