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Topic: Health Insurance Exchanges
The Department of Labor (DOL) released a proposed rule making changes to Association Health Plans (AHPs) as directed by President Trump’s Executive Order. Specifically, DOL proposes to make changes to the definition of “employer” in order to expand AHP offerings to consumers. The notice of proposed rulemaking will be published in the Federal Register on January 5, 2018, and be available for public comment for 60 days.
As 2018 and Year 2 of the chaotic Trump Administration kick off, trying to predict what will happen in Medicare, Medicaid, and the Affordable Care Act is as challenging as ever. It’s a midterm election year with terrible headwinds for the GOP, so the legislative calendar is abbreviated, and partisan rancor will peak. That makes it less likely Republicans will get to do much damage but also more likely they will try to serve up red meat for their base, like a return to “repeal and replace.” Congressional leaders, fresh off their billionaire bailout tax bill, are already talking about taking up “reform” (aka cuts) of Medicare and Medicaid and other social welfare programs. The only thing that is certain is 2018 will be another battleground year for government health programs.
The annual Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act; HHS Notice of Benefit and Payment Parameter (NBPP) for 2019 proposed rule was released on October 27, 2017. It contains some eye-opening details about the future path of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). There have been many attempts this year to dismantle and drastically alter the course the ACA set out to achieve. The 2019 NBPP proposed regulations display the same message that has been heard all year – to make many changes to the foundational structure and administration process of the ACA.
With two months of Affordable Care Act (ACA) stabilization bill efforts under the belt, it is becoming questionable whether Congress will be able to pass, or even bring to the floor, a bill President Trump will support and sign. We saw some developments this week that may shape the future of cost sharing subsidy payments as well as any other ACA fixes in the months to come.
Many thought, with the failure of the U.S. Congress to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA) at the end of the 2017 fiscal year, the act was safe from another repeal effort under this Congress. While the names in the Senate may remain the same, the effective plan may have now changed. Former Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) Administrator Andy Slavitt has described this as “synthetic repeal.”
Supporters of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) won another huge battle against TrumpCare this week, but the war rages on. The threat will continue to loom until Trump is removed from office, Democrats retake the House or Senate, or the Senate provides him a win with a bipartisan market stabilization bill in the wake of the stinging defeat of Graham-Cassidy, his third failure to repeal the ACA.
On Wednesday, September 6, the Senate HELP Committee kicked off a series of hearings on a possible bipartisan bill to address pressing issues with the individual market under the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The first hearing, the senators heard from five state insurance commissioners from both parties. Notably, the hearing largely avoided partisan rhetoric on the ACA and focused on how substantive short-term solutions should be implemented. Senator Alexander expressed his wish for draft legislation to be introduced next week. More importantly, further insight into what senators may agree on was provided in the first hearing.