Dr. Marc Siegel: ObamaCare Is Here to Stay, But Improving Under Trump Administration

To insurance companies, it means a barely profitable albatross. The law mandates that they cover patients with pre-existing conditions who wait until they are sick to sign up, and provide blanket coverage for 10 essential benefits.

Small insurers can’t make ObamaCare profitable and most don’t even try, whereas large insurers try but usually give up. Consequently, according to the Heritage Foundation, choice and competition in the state exchanges continue to shrink… Read More at Fox News

 

Democrats Demand Trump Administration Improve Obamacare Oversight

Congressional Democrats are demanding that the Trump administration explain how it will improve Obamacare’s insurance exchanges, after a federal watchdog found current efforts lacking, buttressing their case that the administration is sabotaging the health law.

“The nation’s health department, which has the self-identified objective of ‘improving Americans’ access to health care,’ should not be working against the interests of patients and families and their goals of obtaining quality, affordable health insurance,” the lawmakers wrote in a letter Monday to Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar and Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Administrator Seema Verma.

The letter was signed by Sens. Patty Murray of Washington, Ron Wyden of Oregon, and Bob Casey of Pennsylvania, and by Rep. Frank Pallone, D-N.J… Read More at the Washington Examiner

Poll: Majority Says They Will Hold Trump Accountable for ObamaCare Failings

A majority of the public says they hold the Trump administration and Congress accountable for any problems with ObamaCare because they have made changes to the law, according to a poll released Wednesday.

The Kaiser Family Foundation tracking poll found that a majority of those surveyed — 58 percent — said they hold the administration and Republican members of Congress responsible for any problems with the ACA since they have made a number of changes to the law.

According to the survey, most of the public also say they think President Trump and his administration are trying to make the Affordable Care Act fail.

Fifty-six percent of respondents believe the administration is trying to make the law fail, while 32 percent say they think it’s trying to make it work… Read More at The Hill

Trump’s Plan to Lower Drug Prices Tests Limits of the Law

In his effort to bring down prescription drug prices, President Trump is testing the limits of a law that prohibits the government from interfering in negotiations between drug manufacturers and insurance companies that provide drug coverage to more than 42 million people on Medicare.

The prohibition was adopted 15 years ago when a Republican Congress added drug benefits to Medicare, and since then Republicans have repeatedly invoked it to quash Democratic demands for the government to rein in drug costs.

But now, with prices of new drugs often topping $10,000 a year, Mr. Trump has unveiled a blueprint to lower drug prices, and some of his ideas envision a larger role for the government.

He wants to require insurers to reduce retail drug prices to reflect the discounts they receive from drug manufacturers. These discounts often take the form of rebates paid to insurers and middlemen known as pharmacy benefit managers.

Read More at The New York Times

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

 

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