Here’s what the Department of Health and Human Services could do:
- Relax rules so companies of all sizes can take advantage of HRAs. Medium-sized and large employers want the same option of setting up HRAs for workers to buy ACA coverage, said Chris Condeluci, who worked on the ACA as a Senate GOP staff attorney.
- Now that the individual mandate has been repealed, the administration could open the door for companies “to provide funds to buy noncompliant coverage,” said Gary Claxton, a vice president at the Kaiser Family Foundation.
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The Center for American Progress proposed a plan for government-run health care Thursday, which the liberal think tank calls “Medicare Extra.”
Unlike Bernie Sanders’ single-payer system, which would abolish virtually all other forms of insurance, the plan would not ban employer coverage outright — at least not yet. In broad strokes, CAP would combine Medicaid and the individual insurance market into Medicare Extra, and allow individuals with other coverage, such as employer plans, traditional Medicare or VA coverage, to enroll in Medicare Extra instead.
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Earlier this week, the Trump administration restored Obama-era rules that allow individuals to buy affordable insurance plans that aren’t bound by Obamacare’s costly regulations. Here’s the low-down on how those plans could affect your insurance choices.
Overcharging the healthy to undercharge the sick
Obamacare’s most significant change to the U.S. health care system was that it introduced an entirely new layer of federal regulations for individuals and families who buy their own health insurance directly, instead of getting it from their employer or from a government program like Medicare or Medicaid. Prior to 2014, these “individual market” or “nongroup” plans were regulated solely at the state level.
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A bipartisan group of governors working to strike compromise on hot-button policy issues will take on the health care question at an event Friday.
Republican Gov. John Kasich, of Ohio, Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper, of Colorado, and Alaska Gov. Bill Walker, an independent, are among governors scheduled to headline a briefing at the National Press Club in Washington to discuss their latest ideas for improving the nation’s health care system.
Their blueprint, a copy of which was provided to The Associated Press, lays out a host of ideas for improving affordability, restoring stability, promoting flexibility so that states can innovate and eliminating duplicative and burdensome insurance regulations.
The governors urge the federal government to restore insurer subsidies that were stopped by Republican President Donald Trump, triggering sharp increases in premiums this year.
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On February 21, 2018, the District of Columbia (D.C.) moved one step closer toward becoming the second in the nation, behind Massachusetts, to adopt an individual health insurance mandate. The Executive Board of the D.C. Health Benefit Exchange Authority (Authority) approved a resolution recommending the adoption of a District-level mandate as well as a number of other policy proposals. The resolution will have to be approved by the D.C. Council before going into effect.
D.C. would be the first to adopt its own mandate in the wake of repeal of the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA’s) individual mandate, but it joins at least eight states considering or studying their own individual mandate.
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The Center for American Progress’s new “Medicare Extra for All” proposal is a repackaged version of the congressional Democrats’ 2009’s “public option” proposal. It imagines that large savings can be generated by extending Medicare’s price controls for hospital care, beyond the elderly and disabled, to the purchase of hospital care for other patients. Individuals and employers would be allowed to buy into the system, to take advantage of these discounted rates. Yet, the monopoly power which has inflated prices for hospital care provided to privately funded patients is a deliberate product of policy, intended to sustain the solvency of hospitals in counties across the United States, which would be unviable in a competitive market.
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Doug Badger, a senior fellow at the free-market Galen Institute, told LifeZette that the proposed rule change is the latest evidence that Trump is moving wherever possible to undo Obamacare restrictions on the health insurance market.
“I think the Trump administration is saying, ‘You know what? It’s probably better to have one of these short-term plans than none at all,’” said Badger, who also is a visiting scholar at the conservative Heritage Foundation.
Badger said the Obamacare changes reflected Obama’s philosophy of one-size-fits-all health care.
“They want people to be either uninsured or have Obamacare policies,” he said.
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Riding a wave of enthusiasm from progressive Democrats, supporters of single-payer have effectively made it a front-and-center issue in California’s 2018 elections. It’s been discussed in virtually every forum with the candidates running for governor, emerged as a point of contention in some legislative races, and will likely be a rallying cry at the upcoming California Democratic Party convention. Advocates of the single-payer system know that it’s not going to happen now, it’s not going to happen tomorrow, but long-term, they hope to make single-payer a reality.
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Gwen Hurd got the letter just before her shift at the outlet mall. Her health insurance company informed her that coverage for her family of three, purchased through the Affordable Care Act marketplace, would cost almost 60 percent more this year — $1,200 a month.
She and her husband, a contractor, found a less expensive plan, but at $928 a month, it meant giving up date nights and saving for their future. Worse, the new policy required them to spend more than $6,000 per person before it covered much of anything.
“It seems to me that people who earn nothing and contribute nothing get everything for free,” said Ms. Hurd, 30. “And the people who work hard and struggle for every penny barely end up surviving.”
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The Trump administration moved on Tuesday to deliver affordable health care to millions of Americans with a proposed rule that would expand the availability of short-term, limited duration plans to one year.
The rule comes as a result of the president’s executive order calling on federal agencies to take the necessary measures to scale back Obamacare’s burdensome regulations.
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