Health Policy Updates: May 14 2017

With the AHCA’s passage of the House, the Senate remains a serious hurdle. Some members have made it clear that the senate will start from scratch, and not base any of their health care reform plans on the House AHCA bill. How this will move forward, and play out in a hypothetical future reconciliation process, is yet to be seen.

“On the Senate side, where several Republicans have long been deeply skeptical of the House effort, the bill is expected to undergo sweeping changes that might leave it unrecognizable — perhaps stripping away some of the provisions that helped earn the support of hard-right House members and ultimately secure its passage.”

Lies about the AHCA’s contents continue at town hall meetings across the country.

“What many Republicans say is sometimes hard to square with the facts. The Congressional Budget Office will not produce a cost estimate for the AHCA until May 22, but over the weekend, Ryan spokeswoman AshLee Strong argued on Twitter that the bill had been “scored twice” — referring to analyses of the bill before amendments.”

Meanwhile, the CBO set a target date of May 22 for releasing their score of the amended AHCA bill. Given the senate’s stated plan to start from a clean slate in drafting health care legislation, it’s not clear how much impact this score will have.

In the OMG LOL category for the week, Donald Trump seems to think that health care costs $15 per month.

“The fact that Trump settles on $15 as the appropriate amount to pay for health insurance betrays a lack of familiarity with the actual cost of coverage. You do not have to be a health policy expert to get this — just someone who has ever purchased a health plan. “

In a revealing moment regarding GOP views on health care, Idaho Congressman Paul Labrador became the subject of unwanted attention when he responded to a question in a town hall meeting by stating, “nobody dies because they don’t have access to health care.” His audience did not like that answer; neither have health care experts.

“A 2009 study in the American Journal of Public Health found that 45,000 deaths annually were linked to lack of health coverage, and that uninsured, working-age Americans have a 40 percent higher risk of dying than their insured counterparts.”

Untruths about the AHCA continued, with HHS secretary Tom Price claiming that no one will lose Medicaid coverage…despite the nearly $1 trillion in cuts to the program.

“The CBO also estimates that the AHCA would cause 14 million people to lose their Medicaid coverage by 2026. This would mostly be a result of the AHCA ending the Medicaid expansion in 2020, a program estimated to cover 12 million low-income Americans.”

US drug prices continue their unmarred rise, having increased over 8% last year.


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