Anthem’s membership in the Affordable Care Act marketplaces will decline by 70% in 2018, executives told investors Wednesday on the insurer’s third-quarter earnings call. About 1.4 million people had ACA-compliant plans with Anthem as of Sept. 30, 900,000 of whom bought coverage on the exchanges.

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As California health care officials brace themselves for changes to the Affordable Care Act by President Donald Trump and the Republican-controlled Congress, state lawmakers today and Tuesday will hold a hearing examining the gaps in coverage and financing of California’s current system.

Among the topics expected to be front and center is single-payer health care and Senate Bill 562, introduced earlier this year by Senators Ricardo Lara, D-Bell Gardens, and Toni Atkins, D-San Diego. That controversial proposal would replace California’s private health insurance market with a single, government-run plan with no premiums or deductibles for nearly 40 million Californians.
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The leaders of two major congressional committees reached a deal to fund Obamacare insurer payments in exchange for delaying enforcement of the law’s individual and employer mandates.

The chairmen of the Senate Finance and House Ways and Means committees released the framework of the deal Tuesday.
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Republicans returning to Washington will decide in coming days whether to embrace or set aside a bipartisan health bill that has gained traction in Congress, a decision potentially made harder by President Donald Trump’s statements praising the effort but opposing the bill itself. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D., N.Y.) said on Sunday the bipartisan bill’s support includes all 48 Senate Democrats as well as the 12 publicly committed Republicans, enough to overcome any filibuster.

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Conservatives are supposed to get two wins in the Alexander-Murray bill. The first is the creation of “copper” plans within the Obamacare exchanges. Moderate Democrats have championed this idea as a way for consumers to buy plans with lower premiums and higher deductibles than others available on the exchange. But because the plans would still be subject to Obamacare’s regulations, they would still be a far cry from the low-cost catastrophic plans that conservatives would like to see. The deal also gives states a little more flexibility — but constrains that flexibility in a way that makes it valueless. States would have to show that any policy changes they make would lead to a comparable number of people having the same kind of comprehensive coverage that Obamacare seeks to foster. But that’s not the kind of coverage conservatives want to make the focus of public policy.

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President Donald Trump will support a bipartisan bill on health care only if it includes a series of conservative measures that Republicans sought in their failed effort to repeal the Affordable Care Act, a White House spokesman said Thursday, as two senators officially unveiled the legislation without many of those demands. In order for Mr. Trump to support such legislation, it must provide relief from the ACA’s requirement that most people have health coverage or pay a penalty, the spokesman said Thursday. It should also roll back or end the requirement that certain employers provide health coverage, the White House official said.

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Despite President Trump’s mixed messages, key senators unveiled their bipartisan plan Thursday to stabilize health insurance markets, drawing widespread support.

Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), chairman of the Senate Health committee, and the top Democrat on the panel, and Sen. Patty Murray of Washington jointly announced 22 bipartisan co-sponsors to their effort, more than typical for a bill.

Alexander noted that Trump, too, continued to encourage him to push forward. The president called the senator twice Wednesday, even after speaking critically of the plan.

“I want to thank him for his encouragement,” Alexander said.
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Sen. Alexander deserves credit for trying to steer the GOP out of the health care wilderness. But the deal Sen. Alexander negotiated with Sen. Murray has a major flaw: It would fund the cost-sharing reduction payments authorized by the ACA for two years, through 2019. The GOP should not agree to fund cost-sharing reduction payments beyond 2018 absent a much more comprehensive deal on health care. An agreement to fund the cost-sharing subsidies through 2019 would all but ensure that Democrats in Congress will stonewall further negotiations on health care until after the mid-term elections in November 2018.
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How does Washington define “bipartisan”? We are about to find out if it means that Republicans surrender to everything Democrats want, or if it means a genuine trade of policy priorities in which both sides get something and the country benefits.

That’s the question to ask about this week’s deal between Republican Lamar Alexander and Democrat Patty Murray to appropriate two years of funding for Obama Care’s “cost-sharing” reductions that flow to insurers. The Trump Administration last week cut off these subsidies, which the Obama Administration paid without an appropriation from Congress. A federal judge ruled last year that those payments are illegal. Democrats would also get about $100 million for advertising ObamaCare.
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tah Republican Sen. Orrin G. Hatch has dealt an emerging bipartisan health care bill a body blow.

President Donald Trump has sent mixed messages on his stance on the legislation from Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Chairman Lamar Alexander of Tennessee and ranking Democrat Patty Murray of Washington, saying he opposed it Wednesday after saying he supported it Tuesday.
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