Health Policy Updates: February 25 2017

An analysis describing the developing Republican proposals for ACA/Obamacare replacement were leaked to the media last week.’s Sarah Kliff describes the results that these plans would have if enacted.

“The analysis includes graphs on what the Republican plan to overhaul Obamacare’s tax credits, generally making them less generous, would do. They are based on the recent 19-page proposal that Republican leadership released about their plan to repeal and replace Obamacare…In the individual market, enrollment would fall 30 percent… “

Continue reading Health Policy Updates: February 25 2017

Health Policy Updates: February 18 2017

It hasn’t been a good week for Obamacare. More insurers are pulling out, and the Trump Administration seems to be split on whether it wants the exchanges to die now or hang around a little longer to provide for a smooth transition.

“The administration’s zigzags haven’t placated worried insurers, who see another year of red ink from enrollees that are older and sicker than they had expected. Congress’ paralysis on repeal and replacement translates into precisely the kind of uncertainly that makes risk-averse insurers want to run for cover. And Trump’s executive order, signed just hours after his inauguration, unnerved the health plans with its call for government agencies to abolish as much of the law as possible through administrative action. That fueled fears that his administration won’t enforce the individual mandate requiring most Americans to get coverage.”

Continue reading Health Policy Updates: February 18 2017

Health Policy Updates: February 11 2017

The idea of “block granting” Medicaid has become increasingly popular in Republican circles, as a way to constrain cost growth in the program.’s Sarah Kliff recently interviewed Phil Roe, a Republican Congressman who supports block granting, about the feasibility of this approach.

“Block grants usually mean something else: a massive cut to Medicaid spending that could throw tens of millions of people off the program. And the politics of that — just at the moment that Obamacare added millions of people to Medicaid — are, as Roe acknowledged, tricky.”

Health policy blogger and expert Aaron Carrol also gave an outline of how block granting works, and what the effects of Republicans’ current block granting proposals would be.

“From states’ point of view, whether they are reimbursed by a block grant or a percentage of coverage doesn’t really matter as long as the amount is enough. Almost no block grant plan allows for this, though. Planned cuts are how block grants make future federal budget projections look so good.”
Continue reading Health Policy Updates: February 11 2017

Health Policy Updates: February 5 2017

With each news story being rapidly overshadowed by the next, discussion of ACA/Obamacare repeal has given way to rapid developments ensuing from executive actions on immigration. If you are a reader of this blog, you certainly do not need me to explain what these actions are. Actions do have unintended (are they unintended?) consequences, however, which I will highlight here (links in the text):

“The American Association for the Advancement of Science, the world’s largest general science society, also issued a statement warning that the ban would prevent the international collaboration that characterizes most science today, and would hurt the United States’ ability to attract talented researchers from around the world.”

As the story of a Cleveland Clinic doctor forced to leave the U.S. thanks to the Trump White House’s move swept the nation, hospitals and academic medical centers braced for potential damage to future staffing and recruiting of medical researchers, educators and clinicians.”

“Since the restrictions, some institutions, including the University of Pennsylvania and the University of California system, have advised students or faculty members from Iran, Iraq and the other affected countries not to travel overseas until further notice…The order could prevent many foreign researchers from making short-term trips to attend conferences and other scientific meetings overseas for fear of not being able to return.”

Continue reading Health Policy Updates: February 5 2017

Health Policy Updates: January 28 2017

One of the first (the first?) actions that Donald Trump took as president was an executive order to begin to dismantle the ACA. Authors at The Incidental Economist reviewed all the things that could be accomplished by executive order alone, without any additional action from Congress.

“Whether and which actions a Trump HHS chooses to pursue will depend on the administration’s willingness to gamble the stability—already quite fragile, in some states—of the individual market. And it will depend, too, on what Congress is willing to do through legislation.” Continue reading Health Policy Updates: January 28 2017