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CMS Administrator Seema Verma, MPH, said the Trump administration will take the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation (CMMI) in a “new direction,” claiming the policies under the last administration encouraged consolidation and providers need more “freedom” to design new care delivery models.

Once thought to be the policy equivalent of a Hail Mary pass, the plan to replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA) known as the Graham-Cassidy bill appears to have gained momentum—and with it, extra attention from healthcare industry groups like the American Medical Association (AMA) that have opposed Republicans’ so-far unsuccessful efforts to repeal the law.

Amid attempts to agree on short-term stabilization of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and Democrats coming out in support for a “Medicare-for-all” bill, a group of Republican senators unveiled what could be their last chance to repeal and replace the ACA.

Members of the Senate Health, Labor, Education and Pensions (HELP) Committee were encouraged to offer greater flexibility under the Affordable Care Act’s “state innovation waivers,” the details of which could spell trouble for the fledging compromise between Democrats and Republicans on a quick fix for the law.

Legislation to move the U.S. to a single-payer, “Medicare-for-all” healthcare system will be introduced Wednesday, Sept. 13, by former presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vermont, with several potential presidential contenders in 2020 already lining up behind the bill. 

 

Recent Headlines

CMS could boost ACA enrollment by letting consumers skip Healthcare.gov

Customers on the Affordable Care Act exchanges will be allowed to enroll directly on sites run by third-party brokers and insurers, rather than be redirected to Healthcare.gov, raising concerns from some group about privacy and choice for those shoppers.

6.3 million with pre-existing conditions face higher premiums under ACA replacement

If the current version of the American Health Care Act (AHCA) became law, 6.3 million people with pre-existing conditions could be charged more by insurance companies, according to an analysis from the Kaiser Family Foundation.

Gains in insurance coverage stalled in 2016

For the first time since the Affordable Care Act (ACA) was signed into law in 2010, there wasn’t an improvement in the number of people with health insurance last year.

CMS plans to take small business enrollment off HealthCare.gov

Enrollment in the small business version of the Affordable Care Act’s insurance exchanges, known as Federally Facilitated Small Business Health Options Program (FF-SHOP), will be moved off HealthCare.gov for 2018, CMS has announced.

CBO report on AHCA impact coming later in May

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) will release an updated report on how the American Health Care Act (AHCA) could affect insurance coverage and federal healthcare spending, with the score expected to be released the week of May 22.

Blue Cross Blue Shield steps in as lone exchange insurer in some Tennessee markets

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Tennessee plans on selling individual market plans next year in the Knoxsville area, which had been in danger of having no participating insurer on the Affordable Care Act exchanges for 2018.

HHS criticized over ‘potentially illegal’ memo

Republicans in Congress were critical of a memo circulated to HHS employees instructing them not to speak to federal lawmakers or their staffs without first clearing it with department leadership, saying it may infringe on the rights of whistleblowers.

Q&A: Healthcare lobbyist predicts AHCA will die due to House-Senate disagreement

Major medical organizations appeared united in opposition to the American Health Care Act (AHCA), yet House Republicans passed the bill without making any changes those groups wanted. Julius Hobson Jr., former director of congressional affairs for the AMA who now works for law firm Polsinelli, told HealthExec there’s an obvious answer: campaign promises.

ACA replacement plan likely to change in Senate

Assuming no Democrats defect this time around, Republicans can only afford two “no” votes among their members, with Vice President Mike Pence breaking a 50-50 tie. 

Healthcare industry ‘deeply disappointed’ by House passage of AHCA

Many major medical associations quickly spoke out against the American Health Care Act (AHCA), calling the Republican-sponsored plan to replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA) “bad policy” that could “destabilize our healthcare system,” after it passed by a narrow margin in the House May 4. 

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