A House Republican is circulating a letter among his colleagues urging Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) to sue the Obama administration to prevent millions of dollars in legal settlements with ObamaCare insurers.
Mr. Trump might consider that his silence is doing damage to more than simply himself. Across the country, Republican candidates are facing voters angry about health care. It would help immensely if they could argue that repealing ObamaCare would be the pressing priority of a Trump administration. After years of having President Obama halt every GOP attempt to patch the law’s holes, this is an extraordinary moment in which the party can tantalize voters with the hope that the nightmare might end.
But to do that, Mr. Trump has to capitalize on one of the greatest political gifts any presidential candidate has ever been given.
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The federal government will choose health plans for hundreds of thousands of consumers whose insurers have left the Affordable Care Act marketplace unless those people opt out of the law’s exchanges or select plans on their own, under a new policy to make sure consumers maintain coverage in 2017.
“Urgent: Your health coverage is at risk,” declares a sample “discontinuation notice,” drafted by the government for use by insurers. It tells consumers that “if you don’t enroll in a plan on your own, you may be automatically enrolled in the plan picked for you.”
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It keeps getting harder to sell Affordable Care Act policies, says Steven Mendelsohn, a Montgomery County licensed insurance salesman.
It’s bad enough that United Healthcare pulled out of the Pennsylvania exchange that sells the subsidized health insurance parties last year, when rates went up 10%. Or that Aetna — which less than 10 years ago dominated the local market for individual policies — stopped writing the policies here earlier this year, when rates went up another 10%.
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President Obama admitted in a far-ranging interview about his presidency that his signature health law has “got real problems.” He said he encouraged Democrats to “walk the plank to get the Affordable Care Act done,” despite their (well-founded) fears they could lose their seats over their votes. “Now, part of my argument to them was, you’ve already paid the price politically, it’s not as if a failed health-care effort would be helpful in midterm elections, it’s better to go ahead and push through and then show that we had gotten something done that was really important to the American people.” (He admits that the party was absolutely ready to take massive casualties to get the last leg of its political agenda passed.)
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For the sake of competition in Maryland’s Obamacare marketplace — particularly for those who buy insurance as individuals, not through their employers — Evergreen Health needs to survive. CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield had 80 percent of Maryland’s individual insurance market in 2014, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation, up from 74 percent three years before. Evergreen, with nearly 40,000 members and growing fast, is expanding in the state at a time when other carriers are pulling back. Though still relatively small, it provides another option for consumers and puts pressure on the dominant carrier to innovate and contain costs.
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Delawareans are again facing steep price increases for health insurance next year under the Affordable Care Act.
Insurance Commissioner Karen Weldin Stewart has approved an average rate increase of 32.5 percent in the individual market for Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield of Delaware, which has the vast majority of the individual market share in Delaware. That follows an average premium increase of 22.4 percent for individual Highmark plans this year.
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Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump’s updated health care proposals narrow what the Republican presidential nominee had previously proposed regarding health care, but his campaign still has not offered details about how such reforms would work.
Trump’s health care proposals outlined online, which were recently updated with little fanfare and still linkto his pervious proposals, say he would replace the Affordable Care Act with health savings accounts if elected to the presidency. He’s previously said people should be allowed to use health savings accounts that are tax-free and can accumulate, and that could be passed on to heirs when they die, saying the “flexibility and security provided by HSAs will be of great benefit to all who participate.”
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Republicans have been vowing for six years now to repeal the Affordable Care Act. They have voted to do so dozens of times, despite knowing any measures would be vetoed by President Barack Obama. But if elected, a President Donald Trump wouldn’t have to wait for lawmakers to once again pass repeal legislation to stop the health law from functioning. Indeed, he could do much of it with a stroke of a pen.
Trump “absolutely, through executive action, could have tremendous interference to the point of literally stopping a train on its tracks,” said Sara Rosenbaum, a professor of law and health policy at George Washington University in Washington, D.C.
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A rarely discussed aspect of Obamacare, one that appeared to give states an “exit strategy” to avoid provisions of the health care law, is likely to become more widely known next year.
But while states led by Democrat governors are beginning to see “innovation waivers” as a way to change their health care systems—and move toward proposals such as a public option—states with Republican governors are proceeding with caution.
The waivers come with strings attached by the Obama administration that some policy experts say constrain free market health care reforms as an alternative to government mandates.
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