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President Donald Trump is considering nominating Alex Azar, a former executive for pharmaceutical giant Eli Lilly, as the next secretary of HHS, which could place the agency in the hands of man who has been skeptical of value-based care and opposed drug price controls.

Sens. Lamar Alexander, R-Tennessee, and Patty Murray, D-Washington, have told reporters they’ve reached an agreement to fund the Affordable Care Act (ACA)’s cost-sharing reduction subsidies to insurers which had been halted by President Donald Trump.

Groups representing physicians, hospitals and patients came out largely in opposition to President Donald Trump’s executive order to encourage the use of insurance plans which don’t comply with Affordable Care Act (ACA) regulations on benefits and covering people with pre-existing conditions.

Cost-sharing reduction subsidies, or CSRs, paid to insurers in exchange for keeping out-of-pocket costs low for lower-income Affordable Care Act (ACA) exchange enrollees will end, HHS announced Thursday night, with the agency saying it couldn’t legally continue making the payments.

President Donald Trump signed an executive order on the morning of Oct. 12 to ease rules on small businesses buying health insurance. With Congress failing to act on Republican promises to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA), Trump will make the unilateral move to reconfigure federal regulations.

 

Recent Headlines

House passes FDA user fee reauthorization, Senate schedule unclear

The House has passed legislation to reauthorize user fee programs through the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) affecting medical devices, prescription and generic drugs.

AHIP: Market instability, higher premiums for sicker enrollees under Cruz amendment

America’s Health Insurance Plans (AHIP), health insurers’ largest lobbying group, has been largely silent on Senate Republicans’ version on an Affordable Care Act (ACA) replacement plan, but now is warning against a conservative amendment to allow insurers to now offer plans which don’t comply with ACA regulations.

Senate delaying August recess to work on healthcare bill

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, has taken the unusual step of delaying the Senate’s August recess, announcing the chamber will stay in session during the first two weeks of the month to address legislative priorities like the replacement of the Affordable Care Act.

CMS: Fewer insurer sign-ups on exchange show ACA is ‘failing’

The number of applications for insurers planning to participate in the Affordable Care Act’s exchanges for 2018 has fallen by 38 percent, according to CMS.

Senate unlikely to vote on ACA repeal until week of July 17

After failing to meet their self-imposed June 30 deadline to vote on the Better Care Reconciliation Act (BCRA), Senate Republicans now say they’ll need another week in Washington before the bill may advance.

CBO: Senate healthcare bill would cut Medicaid more deeply over 20-year period

If the Better Care Reconciliation Act (BCRA) became law, Medicaid spending would be 35 percent lower by 2036 compared to levels under the Affordable Care Act, according to a Congressional Budget Office (CBO) report.

Legislation limiting malpractice damages passes House

Noneconomic damages in certain medical malpractice lawsuits would be capped at $250,000 under a bill passed through the House with only Republican support on June 28.

Senate to delay ACA replacement vote until after July 4 recess

The Senate will not vote on the Republican plan to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act before the July 4 recess. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, informed his Republican colleagues at a June 27 lunch, according to multiple news outlets.

CBO: Senate’s ACA repeal bill would destabilize some markets, increase deductibles

Some 22 million more people would be uninsured by 2026, deductibles and out-of-pocket costs would sharply rise while premiums would be lower and certain markets could be unstable if the Senate’s version of an Affordable Care Act repeal-and-replace plan becomes law, according to the Congressional Budget Office.

Six-month insurance lockout penalty added to Senate ACA repeal bill

Four days after they first released it publicly, Senate Republicans have made a change to their version on Affordable Care Act repeal-and-replace legislation, adding a “continuous coverage” provision to try and discourage people from canceling their insurance plans.

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