Alex Azar, the new secretary of health and human services, said Thursday that he would closely scrutinize a plan by Idaho to allow the sale of insurance that does not comply with the Affordable Care Act, an early test of how he will enforce a law he opposes. But he said it was too early to know what action he might take. “We’ll be looking at that very carefully and measure it up against the standards of the law,” Mr. Azar said at a hearing of the Senate Finance Committee. The plan presents Mr. Azar with a choice that he could face frequently in his new job: whether to try to shore up the health law or to “let Obamacare fail.”
People who bought policies from Centene, a large for-profit health insurance company, filed a federal lawsuit on Thursday claiming the company does not provide adequate access to doctors in 15 states. “Members have difficulty finding–and in many cases cannot find–medical providers,” who will accept patients covered under policies sold by Centene, according to the lawsuit filed in federal court in Washington State.
“People signed up for insurance and they ‘discovered there were no doctors,”’said Seth Lesser, a partner at the law firm of Klafter Olsen & Lesser who is representing some of the policyholders.
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Idaho is going rogue on Obamacare.
The Republican-led state has a maverick plan to flout the federal health care law, letting insurers sell plans that don’t meet Obamacare coverage rules and patient protections. And the brazen move — Gov. Butch Otter is plowing ahead on his own, without seeking federal waivers or permission — poses a test for the Trump administration.
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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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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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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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A growing number of mostly Republican-led states are rushing to follow Kentucky’s lead in requiring thousands of people on Medicaid to work or lose health coverage.
The governors of South Dakota, Alabama, Louisiana and South Carolina have said in recent weeks that they plan to pursue work requirements for their Medicaid programs, following the Trump administration’s release of guidelines for the concept in January.
“Whenever possible, we should always endeavor to help South Carolinians in need find their path to gainful employment and away from temporary assistance of government,” South Carolina GOP Gov. Henry McMaster tweeted Jan. 11, the same day federal officials announced the new guidance.
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Oregon voters recently upheld a myriad of new taxes that were passed as part of a major health-care law last summer. The state government is planning to use the estimated $320 million in revenue to cover hundreds of thousands of residents who have enrolled through the Affordable Care Act. The outcome of this vote has serious implications anyone enrolled in a health-care plan in Oregon.
The referendum was on sections of House Bill 2391, which imposes a 0.7 percent tax on small hospitals as well as a 1.5 percent on individual and family health-care premiums. These revenue raisers are intended to generate more tax dollars for the state. But they also allow Oregon to receive $630 million to $960 million in federal Medicaid matching funds.
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Legislation to expand Medicaid in Virginia failed Thursday after a state Senate panel voted on party lines to defeat the measure.
The state’s Education and Health Committee voted down the bill 8-7. The bill can be brought up at another time, but if the committee doesn’t take further action, the bill is dead.
The bill, sponsored by state Sen. Emmett Hanger (R), would have directed the state’s secretary of Health and Human Resources to submit a Medicaid expansion waiver to the federal government.
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Concerned about soaring health care costs, Idaho on Wednesday revealed a plan that will allow insurance companies to sell cheap policies that ditch key provisions of the Affordable Care Act.
It’s believed to be the first state to take formal steps without prior federal approval for creating policies that do not comply with the Obama-era health care law. Health care experts say the move is legally dubious, a concern supported by internal records obtained by The Associated Press.
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