Overnight Health Care: Trump officials approve proposals to shore up ObamaCare | Study says 'Medicare for All' would cost $32.6T over 10 years | Dems court conservative Republican in drug pricing fight

Overnight Health Care: Trump officials approve proposals to shore up ObamaCare | Study says 'Medicare for All' would cost $32.6T over 10 years | Dems court conservative Republican in drug pricing fight
© Getty Images


Happy Monday, and welcome to Overnight Health Care. It's Medicare's 53rd birthday, but she's still a few years short of qualifying for coverage (Sorry.)

The House is out this week, but the Trump administration is still in town making waves over ObamaCare policy.



The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has approved two reinsurance waivers, its first approvals of 2018.

What they'll do:

  • Wisconsin's program will reimburse insurers for claims between $50,000 and $25,000 -- paying 50 percent of those costs up to $200 million.
  • Maine's program will reimburse insurers for 90 percent of claims paid between $47,000 and $77,000 and 100 percent of claims over that for high-risk enrollees diagnosed with certain health conditions (helpfully condensed by the Kaiser Family Foundation.)

Why it matters:

These programs are intended to help insurers cover their most expensive customers in an effort to reduce premiums for everyone else.

Wisconsin estimates that the program will contribute to a 3.5 percent decrease in premiums for 2019, while Maine estimates premiums will be about 9 percent lower next year than they would be without the program.

What's next:


David Anderson, a research associate at Duke University's Margolis Center for Health Policy, predicts Maryland's reinsurance waiver will be approved in August and New Jersey's will be approved in September. Both would likely have a positive effect on next year's premiums.

Read more on Wisconsin's waiver here.


Happy birthday, Medicare (and Medicaid). You don’t look a day over 50.


Former President Lyndon Johnson signed Medicare and Medicaid into law on July 30, 1965, creating the nation's first national health insurance programs.


53 years later, many Democrats want to expand Medicare to cover everyone. A new analysis released Monday shows Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersBoycott sham impeachment Sunday shows - Biden agenda, Trump impeachment trial dominate Sanders: Senate may use budget reconciliation to pass Biden agenda MORE "Medicare for All" plan would cost the U.S. $32.6 trillion over 10 years.

The study was completed by the Mercatus Center at George Mason University, which Sanders' notes is funded by conservative mega-donors Charles and David Koch. Charles also sits on the center's board. However, the analysis' conclusion is similar to one reached by the Urban Institute in 2016.

Supporters of Medicare for All also point out that national health care spending would decrease under the plan.

Why it matters: Not every Democrat supports Medicare for All, but Republicans want to tie every Democrat to it ahead of the midterms -- especially Democrats up for reelection in states won by Trump.

Read more here.



Freedom Caucus chairman Mark MeadowsMark MeadowsThe Hill's 12:30 Report: Sights and sounds from Inauguration Day Trump leaves White House, promises to be back in 'some form' LIVE INAUGURATION COVERAGE: Biden signs executive orders; press secretary holds first briefing MORE and Rep. Elijah CummingsElijah Eugene CummingsHouse Democrats reintroduce bill to reduce lobbyist influence Trump voters and progressives have a lot in common — and Biden can unite them We must act on lowering cost of prescription drugs MORE (D-Md.) might be on opposite sides of the political spectrum, but they could agree on one thing.

Cummings and Peter WelchPeter Francis WelchDemocrats to determine leaders after disappointing election Shakespeare Theatre Company goes virtual for 'Will on the Hill...or Won't They?' Vermont Rep. Peter Welch easily wins primary MORE (D-Vt.) have been in discussions with Meadows about working together on a bill to allow Medicare to negotiate prices with drug companies.

Meadows said he "absolutely" supports the concept but has been sidetracked by administration efforts to rein in skyrocketing drug costs unilaterally.

"We haven't spent as much time on that as trying to do some of the things more administratively than legislatively," Meadows said. "My preference is legislatively."

"Elijah and I continue to have what I'd say [are] sidebar conversations about it," he added.

Why it matters: President TrumpDonald TrumpMore than two-thirds of Americans approve of Biden's coronavirus response: poll Sarah Huckabee Sanders to run for governor Mexico's president tests positive for COVID-19 MORE promised in his campaign he would allow Medicare to negotiate lower drug prices, but that has not happened.

Republicans and Democrats might be able to find common ground on drug prices, but such a proposal faces an uphill battle so close to the midterm elections.


Read more here.


What we're reading

Gillibrand pushing bill to stop price gouging for prescription drugs (WHAM)

Shopping for health care simply doesn't work. So what might? (The New York Times)

Jamie Dimon says health care initiative with Buffett and Bezos may start small before expanding (CNBC)



State by state

Red states may be ready to expand Medicaid -- In exchange for work (Huffington Post)

Ohio passes on option to delay controversial Medicaid 'electronic verification' systems (Columbus Dispatch)

ObamaCare premiums to rise in NJ next year, but it could be worse (Asbury Park Press)


Op-eds in The Hill

Medicare's anniversary is the right time to demand a level playing field with private plans