Galen Institute Senior Fellow Doug Badger has written a paper, published by the Taxpayers’ Budget Office of the National Taxpayers Union Foundation, in which he analyzes CBO’s expectation that the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation (CMMI) would reduce Medicare spending by $45 billion over ten years.  The forecast is flawed, Badger concludes, as CBO “ascribes unobserved and unobservable savings to projects that CMMI has not yet undertaken (and may never undertake).”  He says the CBO’s judgements “are in some cases questionable, in others mistaken and in still others rendered obsolete.”

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Nevada is taking steps toward leaving the federal healthcare.gov and setting up a separate exchange operated by the state.

The Nevada Appeal reports that the Legislative Interim Finance Committee on Friday authorized state officials to spend $1 million to prepare a request for proposals and find a private provider.

Heather Korbulic, executive director of the state system, says changes are needed because healthcare.gov is steadily raising the rates it charges states that link their front-end systems to the federal exchange.

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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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