Virginia is on the cusp of expanding Medicaid after the Senate on Wednesday narrowly approved a budget that would allow the state to cover as many as 400,000 low-income people.

The House, which already voted in favor of expansion earlier this year, will have to vote again before the bill can go to Gov. Ralph Northam (D). Northam has made expansion one of the top priorities of his administration.

When it passes, Virginia will become the 33rd state, along with Washington, D.C., to expand Medicaid under ObamaCare.

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People with ACA plans drop their plans at a much higher rate than in the pre-Obamacare era.  The average monthly attrition rate under Obamacare in 2015 (3.6%) was nearly two-thirds higher than the average monthly attrition rate in the non-group market in 2006 (2.2%). This occurred even though 86% of Obamacare enrollees were receiving subsidized coverage. We can only imagine what would have happened had enrollees borne the full cost of their premiums (as was the case in 2006).  The reality is that while the non-group market was never perfect, it performed much more smoothly before the ACA than most critics ever gave it credit.

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Alex Azar will soon make his most consequential decision as health and human services secretary. President Trump has asked HHS to expand health-insurance protections in a way that could make coverage more affordable and improve the outlook for Obama Care’s risk pools. Whether Mr. Azar will oblige is uncertain. Some officials don’t understand that Mr. Trump’s request would expand consumer protections, or mistakenly believe HHS lacks the authority to grant it.

The need for action is clear, as ObamaCare premiums keep skyrocketing. Rate hikes as high as 91% will hit many consumers just before Election Day. Maryland insurance commissioner Al Redmer warns ObamaCare is in “a death spiral.”

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The latest plan is being forged by leaders at the conservative think tanks Heritage Foundation and the Galen Institute, along with former senator Rick Santorum and Yuval Levin of the Ethics and Public Policy Center. They’ve been meeting regularly over the past eight months to craft a recommendation for Congress to repeal much of the ACA’s coverage requirements and taxes, turn over some of its spending to states through block grants and expand the use of tax-free health savings accounts.

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A group of outside conservative groups developing a plan to repeal Obamacare said they would ensure the final product does not allow taxpayer funding to go toward covering abortions.

“When our plan is released, it will include strong pro-life priorities as well as recommendations that focus on providing Americans relief from Obamacare’s high costs and lack of choice while helping to heal the broken private small-group and individual insurance markets,” said Marie Fishpaw, Heritage’s director of domestic policy studies, in a statement.

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A bipartisan group of House lawmakers on Thursday moved to delay the health insurance tax for another year, triggering the next round of work to curb the Affordable Care Act’s taxes on the industry.

While the lawmakers aren’t proposing an all-out repeal of the tax, the measure would be the third delay of the assessment. Reps. Kristi Noem (R-S.D.) and Jackie Walorski (R-Ind.) co-sponsored the bill along with Reps. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) and Ami Bera (D-Calif.).

Insurers have to pay the tax for 2018, though it was suspended in 2017 and Congress passed another moratorium for 2019. Insurers estimate it will cost them $14.3 billion this year.

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A Maine state judge said Thursday that Gov. Paul LePage’s administration has a “duty to enforce” a voter-passed law to expand Medicaid to low-income adults.

Kennebec County Superior Court Justice Michaela Murphy’s comment came during oral arguments in a lawsuit brought by advocacy groups to force the LePage administration to implement the Medicaid expansion overwhelmingly passed by Maine voters last November.

The judge did not indicate when she would issue a ruling, though it’s expected she will rule within a week or so. The losing side is almost certain to appeal.

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A group of Republicans and advocacy groups will soon release a proposal intended to spark another push to repeal the Affordable Care Act, resurrecting a potentially volatile issue in the months before the November midterm elections.

The proposal to topple the Obama-era health law and replace it with a plan that would give states more control over health policy is the result of eight months of behind-the-scenes work by a coalition of conservative groups.

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Sens. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., and Jeff Merkley, D-Ore., recently introduced the “Choose Medicare Act,” which would give every American the option to buy into Medicare. Their colleagues have already rolled out three other bills that would provide for a more limited Medicare buy-in, a Medicaid buy-in, and a full-fledged, government-run, single-payer system.

All of these bills would lead to the same inevitable outcome — a federal takeover of the nation’s healthcare system. Each of the government-sponsored buy-in plans could operate at a loss indefinitely. Private insurers don’t have that luxury; they’d ultimately go out of business.

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  • The price of Obamacare benchmark silver plans will rise 15 percent next year, the Congressional Budget Office said Wednesday in a new report.
  • The CBO also projects about 5 million more people will be uninsured in 2027 than it estimated in September, up to a total of 35 million people.
  • The double-digit premium increase would come during President Donald Trump’s third year in office and could add fuel to a heated debate over health care and the fate of the Affordable Care Act, known as Obamacare.

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