By better focusing the Affordable Care Act’s subsidies on the subset of individuals who are uninsurable in an actuarially priced market, STLDI deregulation would increase overall insurance enrollment. Reductions in premiums for individuals able to enroll in STLDI plans are likely to greatly exceed the slight increase in costs for higher-income unsubsidized individuals remaining on the exchange. STLDI deregulation might even save taxpayers a little money too.

. . .

The Senate’s two top Republican proponents for individual market exchange stabilization measures are in talks with CMS Administrator Seema Verma about making 1332 state innovation waivers easier to obtain.

Early insurance rate filings from Maryland and Virginia have shown huge premiums spikes, leading Republicans and Democrats on Capitol Hill to question which party is to blame for the hikes months before midterm elections. Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) said he and Verma are discussing speeding up the waiver application process, although he conceded that most of the measures he and Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) proposed to keep rates in check for next year would need to be enacted by Congress.

. . .

Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) wrote in a recent letter that bipartisan efforts to fix ObamaCare have failed and he is now turning to focus on additional actions the Trump administration can take on its own regarding the health-care law.

Alexander worked for months with Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) on a bipartisan effort to provide funding to bring down ObamaCare premiums, but the effort fell apart in March.

. . .

Some Republican lawmakers continue to try to work around the federal health law’s requirements. That strategy can crop up in surprising places. Like the farm bill.

Tucked deep in the House version of the massive bill — amid crop subsidies and food assistance programs — is a provision that supporters say could help provide farmers with cheaper, but likely less comprehensive, health insurance than plans offered through the Affordable Care Act.

. . .

The Trump administration announced Monday that it is rejecting Kansas’s request to impose lifetime limits on Medicaid benefits, drawing a line against a new level of conservative changes to the program.

The administration has already approved work requirements in Medicaid, a controversial move in itself, but Monday’s decision indicates that time limits on Medicaid coverage go too far for the Trump administration.

. . .

Insurers are proposing double-digit premium increases in Maryland’s individual-health-plan market, a consequence of what the state’s health insurance commissioner called a “death spiral.”

CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield requested an 18.5 percent increase on the HMO plans used by the vast majority of its individual-plan members — and a whopping, 91.4 percent increase on its PPO plans. Kaiser Permanente requested a 37.4 percent increase on its HMO plans. The average rate increase requested, across insurers and plans, was 30 percent.

. . .

Americans are active shoppers. Whether purchasing a car, a dishwasher, or a jar of salsa, we rarely buy anything without comparing the price and quality of available options. These days, shoppers have access to a wide array of tools online to inform our quest for value. Our demand for value is the engine that drives competition which, in turn, lowers prices and inspires innovation to improve the quality of the products we purchase.

Yet, when it comes to one of the most important services we receive — our health care — this consumer driven engine sputters.

. . .

President Trump is sending a plan to Congress that calls for stripping more than $15 billion in previously approved spending, with the hope that it will temper conservative angst over ballooning budget deficits.

Almost half of the proposed cuts would come from two accounts within the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) that White House officials said expired last year or are not expected to be drawn upon. An additional $800 million in cuts would come from money created by the Affordable Care Act in 2010 to test innovative payment and service delivery models.

. . .

Here’s a simple idea to help lower health-care costs: publish prices. A bipartisan group of state lawmakers in Colorado is pushing a bill to do precisely that. The Comprehensive Health Care Billing Transparency Act would allow Coloradans to see the true price of any health service they use—exams, procedures, prescriptions—before they undertake treatment.

. . .

President Donald Trump has found one part of the federal health law palatable: He’s allowing Obamacare rules that require chain restaurants to post calorie counts to go into effect Monday.

The rules, which are among the final pieces of the 2010 Affordable Care Act to be implemented, require restaurants to list calories on all menus and menu boards. Restaurants will also have to provide on-site additional nutritional information, such as fat and sodium levels.

The law, intended to nudge Americans to eat healthier, applies to chains with at least 20 stores.

. . .