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.
. . .
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.
. . .
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.
. . .
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.
. . .
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.”
. . .
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.
. . .
Obama Care survived a GOP repeal attempt but the law’s prognosis remains poor—higher premiums and insurer flight. Some Republicans would be happy to dump money into the exchanges and move on, so credit the Trump Administration for a proposal that puts consumer choice ahead of politics.
On Tuesday the Health and Human Services Department proposed a rule for short-term, limited duration health insurance as an alternative to the ObamaCare exchanges. Insurers would have to make clear that the plans, which could last for less than 12 months, would be liberated from the Affordable Care Act’s benefit and other mandates.
. . .
Hundreds of companies face prospective fines for violating Obamacare’s employer mandate by the same Trump administration that has done virtually everything in its power to abolish the federal health care law.
Internal Revenue Service notices recently began arriving in corporate mailboxes, in some cases demanding millions of dollars in fines — an awkward development as the White House touts its business-friendly tax package. The notices will likely spur another legal fight over the health law.
. . .
Medicare Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs) were created by the Affordable Care Act (ACA) to improve the efficiency of the networks of hospitals and doctors that deliver services to Medicare patients and thereby lower the government’s costs. So far, however, ACOs haven’t produced any savings for the federal government. ACOs would become more efficient and innovative if they were forced to compete with the other options beneficiaries have for getting their Medicare-covered benefits.
. . .
The White House budget for fiscal 2019 seeks major savings by repealing ObamaCare and endorsed a Senate GOP bill as the best way to do so.
“The Budget supports a two-part approach to repealing and replacing Obamacare, starting with enactment of legislation modeled closely after the Graham-Cassidy-Heller-Johnson (GCHJ) bill as soon as possible,” the White House said in its budget request.
The legislation from Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), Bill Cassidy (R-La.), Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) and Dean Heller (R-Nev.) would replace ObamaCare with a series of block grants to states.
. . .