Limits on Medicare Reimbursement for Telehealth Hurt Rural Healthcare

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services must remove restrictions that hamper Medicare providers’ ability to offer telehealth services.

Chief among those limitations, according to Morgan Reed, executive director of the Connected Health Initiative, is the fact that the Medicare program’s reimbursement for telemedicine is anemic — which he says is hurting rural healthcare in America and negatively affecting beneficiaries’ health outcomes… Read More at Health Data Management

Suddenly, Vulnerable House Republicans No Longer Bash Obamacare on Their Websites

If you visited Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers’, R-Wash., campaign website in 2014, you would have had no doubt what she wanted to do with Obamacare. She wanted to kill it.

Four years later, Rodgers’ hatred for President Obama’s signature domestic law has not just softened on her campaign website, it’s disappeared. Her site today doesn’t make reference to the Affordable Care Act under the healthcare section. Instead, it refers to Rodgers “getting a ten-year extension for children’s health care funding” and her support for “more doctors in rural communities.”… Read More at The Daily Beast

Kevin Brady Sees Vote to Nix Obamacare Taxes Slipping Past Midterm Elections

House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady suggested Tuesday that the House won’t have enough time this week to vote on a bill that delays or repeals key parts of Obamacare, meaning that the legislation won’t be passed until after the midterm elections.

Brady told reporters at the Capitol that a recess in the House due to Hurricane Florence could mean the Save American Workers Act of 2018 will not be considered until a lame duck session of Congress after the 2018 midterm elections. The House is expected to recess after this week for the whole month of October to give members more time to campaign before the elections in early November… Read More at Washington Examiner

Obamacare a Central Issue in State Attorney General Races

For years, congressional Republicans vowed to repeal the Affordable Care Act.

In a case sending shock waves through midterm election campaigns, Republican attorneys general across the country might be poised to make good on that promise.

Both political parties expect record-breaking fundraising for the 30 contested elections for state attorneys general this year. Democrats aim to translate narrow public support for the Affordable Care Act — a Fox News poll last month showed 51 percent of Americans viewed the health care law favorably — into the votes needed to seize a handful of posts held by Republicans… Read More at USA Today

Trump Administration Makes It Easier to Avoid Obamacare Tax Penalty

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services announced on Wednesday a new opportunity for those who failed to have health insurance in 2018 to avoid a hit on their taxes.

Under the Affordable Care Act, the so-called individual mandate required nearly all Americans to have some form of health insurance coverage or face a tax penalty. Traditionally, individuals were eligible for a hardship exemption from the penalty only under certain circumstances, such as homelessness, domestic violence, or natural disasters. Documentation needed to be submitted to qualify for the exemption.

The new policy allows hardship exemptions to be claimed for more general financial burdens and also eliminates the need to provide “the documentary evidence or written explanation generally required,” the CMS said in a statement… Read More at CNBC

Health Industry Experts Fear ‘Chaos’ if Texas Judge Suspends Affordable Care Act

A federal judge in Texas is weighing a request by 20 states to suspend the Affordable Care Act (ACA), a move that could lead to “chaos” in the health insurance market, some industry experts worry.

The states filed a lawsuit in February to have the health care act — also called Obamacare — declared unconstitutional. In arguments held last Wednesday, lawyers for the Republican-led states did not back off on their request for a preliminary injunction suspending the entire law… Read More at USA Today

Health Insurance Scams Soar Amid Obamacare Changes

President Donald Trump has vowed to dismantle Obamacare — and con artists have been listening. Earlier this year, the government nixed the so-called individual mandate that required all Americans to buy health insurance or pay a tax penalty. And last month, new rules were adopted that allow millions of people to buy cheaper “temporary” health policies if they don’t get coverage through work.

That has created a boom in health insurance scams, experts say. Health care-related cons didn’t even register among the top 10 scams as recently as February, but they now account for nearly one-quarter of all illegal computer-generated calls, according to YouMail, a free robocall blocking service for cell phones… Read More at CBS News

Trump Administration Warns of ‘Chaos’ if Obamacare Is Blocked Too Soon

The Trump administration isn’t defending Obamacare from a legal attack that could finally slay the embattled health-care law, but the federal government cautioned Wednesday that an immediate and nationwide halt may trigger “chaos.”

Unlike the state of Texas, which urged a federal judge to block the Affordable Care Act right away, the Justice Department wants a court order not to take effect before Jan. 1, when the provision requiring people to pay a tax if they don’t have insurance is phased out.

Blocking Obamacare before January would “cause chaos in the insurance market,” Deputy Assistant Attorney General Brett Shumate told U.S. District Judge Reed O’Connor… Read More at Bloomberg

Fort Worth Is Ground Zero in States’ Lawsuit That Targets Obamacare Protections

Obamacare is headed back to court.

On Wednesday, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton’s proposal to repeal the Affordable Care Act is scheduled for a 9:30 a.m. hearing before U.S. District Judge Reed O’Connor.

Paxton is leading the charge in this case for 20 states, including Alabama, Florida, North Dakota, and South Carolina, to end the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare.

“Obamacare is unconstitutional, plain and simple,” Paxton said recently.

This week, the issue is their request to stop enforcement of the Affordable Care Act. Ending the act would eliminate current protections for those with pre-existing conditions, such as pregnancy, arthritis and diabetes.

Attorneys from 20 states involved in this lawsuit maintain that Obamacare has been unconstitutional since last year, when the new tax bill eliminated the penalty for people who don’t have health insurance… Read More at Star-Telegram

Modest Premium Hikes as Obamacare Stabilizes

Millions of people covered under the Affordable Care Act will see only modest premium increases next year, and some will get price cuts. That’s the conclusion from an exclusive analysis of the besieged but resilient program, which still sparks deep divisions heading into this year’s midterm elections.

The Associated Press and the consulting firm Avalere Health crunched available state data and found that “Obamacare’s” health insurance marketplaces seem to be stabilizing after two years of sharp premium hikes. And the exodus of insurers from the program has halted, even reversed somewhat, with more consumer choices for 2019.

The analysis found a 3.6 percent average increase in proposed or approved premiums across 47 states and Washington, D.C., for next year. This year the average increase nationally was about 30 percent. The average total premium for an individual covered under the health law is now close to $600 a month before subsidies… Read More at ABC News