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…

Details

United States health spending is projected to rise 5.3 percent in 2018, reflecting rising prices of medical goods and services and higher Medicaid costs, a U.S. government health agency said on Wednesday, an upward trend it forecasts for the next decade. The increase represents a sharp uptick from 2017 spending, which the U.S. Centers for…

Details

Insurer participation and competition in Obamacare declined again in 2018 at both the state and county levels. In 2017, nearly one-third of counties (32.8 percent) had only one insurer offering exchange coverage. In 2018, more than half (51.3 percent) of all counties face that situation. Many insurers have exited the exchanges; ones that remain offer…

Details

House Republicans are in discussions about repealing or delaying ObamaCare’s employer mandate to offer health insurance, House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady (R-Texas) said Tuesday. Brady told reporters that he has discussed the idea with Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar, as well as other members of the Ways and Means Committee. “We’ve discussed…

Details

New analysis from Avalere finds that plans with more restrictive networks, including health maintenance organizations (HMOs) and exclusive provider organizations (EPOs), continue to dominate the exchange market, with 73% of the 2018 market comprised of restrictive network plans, up from 68% in 2017 and 54% in 2015. Avalere analysis also found that deductibles for the…

Details

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…

Details

Idaho has a maverick plan to let insurers sell plans that don’t meet Obamacare coverage rules and patient protections to give more health insurance options to citizens who can’t afford the expensive Obamacare policies. Gov. Butch Otter issued an executive order to authorize a state-level version of the “Cruz amendment,” which Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX)…

Details

Two weeks into his new post, HHS Secretary Alex Azar on Wednesday took another step in the Trump administration’s move toward relaxing the Affordable Care Act’s moratorium on new physician-owned hospitals. In the HHS budget hearing before the House Ways and Means Committee, Rep. Sam Johnson (R-Texas) asked for Azar to commit the administration to help repeal…

Details

Businesses are pushing back on the Internal Revenue Service’s decision to begin enforcing the Affordable Care Act’s employer insurance mandate, challenging penalties that run into the millions and asserting the agency is wrong to impose the fines. The ACA imposes a penalty on employers with more than 50 workers who don’t provide qualifying coverage to…

Details

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…

Details