Amazon is looking to turn its medical-supplies business into a major supplier to U.S. hospitals and outpatient clinics.  The online retailer is pushing hard to expand its foothold in medical supplies, creating a marketplace where hospitals could shop to stock emergency rooms, operating suites and outpatient facilities.

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Gov. Holcomb (R-IN) joined U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar at Eskenazi Hospital on Friday to announce Indiana gained federal approval to continue its Healthy Indiana Plan (HIP).

The plan, which the state calls a successful alternative to traditional Medicaid, has been approved through Dec. 2020.

This will allow the state to continue health coverage for more than 400,000 low-income adult Hoosiers.

The Healthy Indiana Plan was created in 2007 under Gov. Mitch Daniels. The program was expanded in 2015 by then Gov. Mike Pence with a federal waiver to implement HIP as an alternative to traditional Medicaid expansion.

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The budget deal in Congress is billed as a measure to grant stability to a government funding process that has lurched from crisis to crisis — but it is also stuffed with provisions that will broadly affect the nation’s health care system, like repealing an advisory board to curb Medicare spending and funding community health centers. Among the more significant provisions is one that would eliminate a powerful 15-member panel, known as the Independent Payment Advisory Board, created by the ACA to control the rising costs of Medicare. The board was to recommend specific savings if Medicare spending per beneficiary was projected to grow faster than certain benchmarks. Congress could have stepped in to block the recommendations, but they did not need congressional approval to take effect. The power of the board gave pause to politicians in both parties, and health care providers and some advocates for Medicare beneficiaries said it could threaten patients’ access to care.

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States that run their own Affordable Care Act insurance market­places significantly outperformed the rest of the country in attracting consumers to sign up for health plans for 2018, according to enrollment tallies released Wednesday.

Overall enrollment stayed essentially level from the year before in the 11 states plus the District with state-based marketplaces, while sign-ups in states that rely on the ACA’s federal exchange fell, on average, by more than 5 percent. Five states with hybrid systems did best of all, according to a report compiled by the National Academy for State Health Policy.

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The House passed legislation Tuesday to ease the ObamaCare rule that requires restaurants, convenience stores and supermarkets to list the calorie count of each menu item before it’s set to take effect in May.

The Common Sense Nutrition Disclosure Act, introduced by Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Wash.) and Tony Cárdenas (D-Calif.), passed, 266-157, with the support of 32 Democrats.

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The congressional GOP should allow states to emulate Romneycare, by structuring ACA funds as block grants to reward states for increasing overall insurance coverage by targeting public funds to fill gaps in private insurance. 

Over the past year, the Republican Congress failed to enact an attractive alternative to the Affordable Care Act, with the Congressional Budget Office estimating its various proposals as leaving between 17 and 23 million more individuals uninsured. Yet, the healthcare reform signed into law by Mitt Romney as governor of Massachusetts covered more people than under the ACA, despite spending less in public funds.

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Sen. Graham told Breitbart News, “If the reports are true that the Republican leadership is abandoning the promise to repeal Obamacare, it’s a huge mistake not only in the short term, but also the long run. There’s only unpardonable sin in politics, and that’s to stop trying to fulfill a promise.”

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President Trump’s State of the Union address left some declaring that he has “thrown in the towel” on repealing Obamacare. But conversations I’ve had with people in the Trump White House make clear that health care, including Obamacare, remains front-and-center for this administration.

Recently, I spoke with Andrew Bremberg, Director of the President’s Domestic Policy Council, about Trump’s health care agenda for 2018. His view—and his boss’s view—is that the Trump administration has done more than people appreciate on Obamacare, and on health care more broadly. On health care, Trump’s “policy direction is more robust and substantive than some people understand,” Bremberg said.

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When Erica Jackson and her husband decided she would quit her job as a nurse and stay at home with their three kids, they knew they couldn’t afford insurance on the individual market. The family of five, who live in Wichita Falls, Texas, near the Oklahoma border, could already barely afford Jackson’s employer coverage, which cost $900 per month for a plan with a $12,000 deductible.

So Jackson reached out to her insurance broker for alternatives to exchange plans, and he suggested that she and her family would be a good fit for Medi-Share, a nonprofit insurance alternative based in Florida in which members share each other’s health care costs. There was a catch, though. The plan was run by a nonprofit religious ministry.

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The Senate confirmed Alex Azar as secretary of Health and Human Services, installing him atop a department seeking a fresh start after a turbulent first year under the Trump administration. Azar cruised to confirmation Wednesday in a 55-43 vote, with six Senate Democrats — largely from red states — and Independent Angus King joining nearly all Republicans to back his candidacy.

A former pharmaceutical executive and twice-confirmed veteran of George W. Bush’s HHS, the 50-year-old nominee earned bipartisan respect in recent weeks for his familiarity with the sprawling agency and a stated desire to reset relations with lawmakers on both sides of the aisle.

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