5 Ways States Are Expanding Obamacare

State governments that support Obamacare are resisting efforts by the Trump administration and Congress to scale back the law, and are moving to either expand it or reinstate provisions that were rolled back.

While many red states have tried to loosen Obamacare rules or offer their residents less expensive alternatives, blue states in particular are stepping in with their own proposals. They are re-implementing policies that the Trump administration is trying to gut, or looking to go further to involve the government in health insurance.

Their ideas go beyond expanding the government-funded Medicaid program to low-income people or setting up reinsurance funds to pay for high-cost medical claims, though those proposals are on the table in several states as well. Read More at the Washington Examiner

 

Virginia’s State Senate Just Voted to Expand Medicaid

The Virginia state Senate voted Wednesday to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act, with four Republicans crossing party lines to join all Senate Democrats in backing the move.

The House of Delegates, which already passed a version of Medicaid expansion, will need to vote again to make expansion a reality, but the odds now seem overwhelming that Virginia will become the 33rd state to expand Medicaid (Washington, DC, has also expanded).

That’s big news for about 400,000 poor and near-poor Virginians who will gain access to affordable health insurance, and a big deal to the state’s health care providers, who’ll get an injection of clients and money — an important topic for residents of rural areas writ large since expansion helps ensure that hospitals can stay in business, which helps even people who aren’t directly assisted by Medicaid expansion. Read More at Vox

Exclusive: Here Are Details of New Plan to Revive Obamacare Repeal

A group of more than 40 right-of-center healthcare experts led by the Heritage Foundation is expected to release recommendations to Congress next month on a new plan to overhaul Obamacare.

The recommendation would convert Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion and insurance subsidies into a system of block grants to the states, according to a source familiar with the plan, with the exact growth formula to be determined by Congress.

But, unlike previous Republican healthcare plans, it would not make changes to the funding or structure of traditional Medicaid.

The plan would allow states that get the block grant to waive rules requiring plans to have essential health benefits and to maintain a single risk pool and it would give more leeway to insurers to charge more based on age. Read More at the Washington Examiner

CBO Lowers Estimate of Number of Uninsured Due to Republican Tax Law

The government’s scorekeeping agencies revised their controversial estimate for how many more people would be uninsured as a result of changes Republicans and the Trump administration made to Obamacare.

The latest estimates project that zeroing out Obamacare’s fine for going uninsured alone will result in roughly 8.6 million more people becoming uninsured by 2027 than if the fine had been kept in place, compared to the 13 million figure the agencies had released several months ago. Read More at the Washington Examiner

Obamacare Premiums to Rise an Average of 15% Next Year, Says CBO

Obamacare rates are going up next year.

The premium for the benchmark Obamacare silver plan is projected to jump an average of 15% next year, according to a Congressional Budget Office report released Wednesday.

The increase is being driven in large part because people will no longer be penalized for not having insurance, as of 2019. Congress eliminated the penalty associated with Obamacare’s individual mandate as part of its tax reform package last year.

This change alone will cause premiums to be 10% higher because fewer healthy people will buy coverage, leaving insurers with a sicker and costlier group of policyholders, the CBO projected. Read More at CNN.

Obamacare Repeal Effort Quietly Poised for Success

New numbers on healthcare costs highlight, yet again, how much of a dereliction of duty it will be if congressional Republicans don’t take another crack this year at replacing Obamacare.

The Congressional Budget Office reported on Wednesday that premiums for the basic Obamacare plan will rise 15 percent next year, despite overall price inflation in the rest of the economy remaining at or below 2 percent.

The huge price hikes will not be a one-time thing, either. “Going forward, the agency projects premiums will increase an average of 10% a year between 2019 and 2023 and then 5% annually between 2024 and 2028,” reported CNN. Read More at the Washington Examiner

Graham Working on New ObamaCare Repeal Bill

Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., said Wednesday he is working on a new version of his ObamaCare repeal-and-replace bill and has not given up on efforts to do away with the law despite Republicans’ failure last year.

“I haven’t given up,” Graham said. “Will there be another effort to replace ObamaCare with a state-centric plan? I hope so.”

Read More at The Hill

Premium Hikes Reignite the ObamaCare Wars

The ObamaCare premium wars are back.

The cost of health insurance plans on the ObamaCare exchanges could jump in the coming weeks, some by double digits, inflaming the issue ahead of the midterm elections.

Democrats argue the price increases are the result of what they refer to as “Republican sabotage.” They contend that, since the GOP controls Congress and the White House, the price hikes are their responsibility — and that’s the message they plan to take into the fall campaign.

Read More at The Hill

Dems in Denial on Why ObamaCare Premiums Are Through the Roof

America has a health-insurance problem because politicians would rather lie about it than solve it.

ObamaCare regulations caused premiums for people buying their own insurance to more than double between 2013 and 2017, then soar even higher in 2018. With huge hikes predicted again in 2019, ObamaCare will have caused premiums to triple in six years. Ouch. But instead of telling the truth about why this is happening, politicians are dishing out lies.

Read More at New York Post

GOP Chairman in Talks with Trump Officials on More ObamaCare Actions

Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., wrote in a recent letter that bipartisan efforts to fix ObamaCare have failed and he is now turning to focus on additional actions the Trump administration can take on its own regarding the health-care law.

Alexander worked for months with Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., on a bipartisan effort to provide funding to bring down ObamaCare premiums, but the effort fell apart in March. Alexander, in a letter to supporters sent Monday and obtained by The Hill, said he does not see any path forward for bipartisanship on the issue.

Read More at The Hill