Articles on the implementation of ObamaCare.

The Trump administration rejected on Thursday Idaho’s plan to allow the sale of stripped-down, low-cost health insurance violates the ACA. The 2010 statute “remains the law, and we have a duty to enforce and uphold the law,” Seema Verma, the administrator of the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, said in a letter to the governor of Idaho, C.L. Otter. While rejecting Idaho’s plan in its current form, Ms. Verma encouraged the state to keep trying, and she suggested that, “with certain modifications,” its proposal might be acceptable.

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Congress reportedly is contemplating appropriating more federal funding to prop up the Affordable Care Act (ACA, also known as Obamacare) and its harmful policy regulations. The radical and unnecessary changes in insurance regulations made by the ACA created much bigger problems in the insurance market that upended existing federal and state regulation of health insurance, destabilized the individual health insurance market, and resulted in higher costs and fewer choices. Ultimately, Congress can help Americans who are suffering from higher costs and premiums by resuming efforts to address the cause of this suffering by repealing and replacing Obamacare itself. Instead of a bailout, a good place to start would be to give states the flexibility to stabilize their markets.
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Arkansas on Monday became the third U.S. state to require that Medicaid recipients work or participate in employment activities as a condition of receiving health insurance as the Trump administration continues to approve state requests that fundamentally change the 50-year-old program.

Arkansas’s waiver would require beneficiaries to work or participate in job training or job search activities for at least 80 hours per month as a condition of receiving Medicaid, the government health insurance program for the poor and disabled. Those who fail to meet the requirements for three months of a plan year will not be able to re-enroll until the following plan year.

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A federal appeals court is raising a potential hurdle to the settlement of a suit the House of Representatives brought against the Obama administration over billions of dollars in subsidies paid to insurers under Obamacare.

The D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals issued an order Monday questioning a deal the House, the Trump administration and liberal states announced last September to try to shut down the case.

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Proposed changes to Arkansas’ Medicaid expansion program would reduce its cost by more than $356 million in the fiscal year that starts July 1, according to state Department of Human Services estimates.

The estimates include $307 million in federal and state funds saved by restricting eligibility to people with incomes of up to the poverty level, instead of 138 percent of the poverty level.

Imposing a work requirement on many of those remaining on the program would save an additional $49.4 million, the department calculated.

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Gov. Scott Walker (Wis.), a Republican who has been one of ObamaCare’s most vocal opponents, signed a bill Tuesday that would shore up the law’s insurance markets.

The bill would authorize the state to apply for a federal waiver to offer a reinsurance program covering 80 percent of medical claims costing between $50,000 and $250,000.

The program would cost $200 million, with the federal government paying 75 percent of the costs, and is meant to lower premiums for everyone else by paying for claims filed by the sickest, most expensive patients.

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Over a 6-month period, the OIG found in California:

For our sample of 150 beneficiaries, California made Medicaid payments on behalf of 112 eligible beneficiaries. However, for the remaining 38 beneficiaries, California made payments on behalf of ineligible beneficiaries (e.g., a woman who did not meet eligibility requirements for the newly eligible group because she was pregnant) and potentially ineligible beneficiaries (e.g., a beneficiary who may not have met the residency requirement). On the basis of our sample results, we estimated that California made Medicaid payments of $738.2 million ($628.8 million Federal share) on behalf of 366,078 ineligible beneficiaries and $416.5 million ($402.4 million Federal share) on behalf of 79,055 potentially ineligible beneficiaries. (These estimates represent Medicaid payments for fee-for service, managed-care, the drug treatment program, and mental health services.) These deficiencies occurred because California’s eligibility determination systems lacked the necessary system functionality and eligibility caseworkers made errors. We also identified a weakness in California’s procedures related to determining eligibility of individuals who may not have intended to apply for Medicaid.

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Through its regime of subsidies, penalties, and federal regulations, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) made health insurance affordable to millions of people who were uninsured because they earned too little or had preexisting conditions. But it also made insurance more expensive for millions who used to be able to afford it. Between December 2013 and January 2017, average premiums more than doubled, and individual markets were in turmoil.

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A bipartisan group of governors working to strike compromise on hot-button policy issues will take on the health care question at an event Friday.

Republican Gov. John Kasich, of Ohio, Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper, of Colorado, and Alaska Gov. Bill Walker, an independent, are among governors scheduled to headline a briefing at the National Press Club in Washington to discuss their latest ideas for improving the nation’s health care system.

Their blueprint, a copy of which was provided to The Associated Press, lays out a host of ideas for improving affordability, restoring stability, promoting flexibility so that states can innovate and eliminating duplicative and burdensome insurance regulations.

The governors urge the federal government to restore insurer subsidies that were stopped by Republican President Donald Trump, triggering sharp increases in premiums this year.
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On February 21, 2018, the District of Columbia (D.C.) moved one step closer toward becoming the second in the nation, behind Massachusetts, to adopt an individual health insurance mandate. The Executive Board of the D.C. Health Benefit Exchange Authority (Authority) approved a resolution recommending the adoption of a District-level mandate as well as a number of other policy proposals. The resolution will have to be approved by the D.C. Council before going into effect.

D.C. would be the first to adopt its own mandate in the wake of repeal of the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA’s) individual mandate, but it joins at least eight states considering or studying their own individual mandate.
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