ObamaCare Watch Newsletter 5/4/18

  • Obamacare Repeal May Be Closer Than You Think –
  • Rick Santorum on Obamacare Repeal Plan: ‘We Have an Obligation to Fix What’s Broken’ –
  • How Republicans Can Fix What Democrats Got Wrong On Health Care –
  • New Precedent Allows Congress to Dismantle (Some Of) Obamacare –
  • Comments on Short-Term, Limited Duration Insurance –
  • Dem Proposes Testing Automatic ObamaCare Enrollment –
  • NH House Quickly Passes Medicaid Expansion Bill –
  • Idaho Medicaid Expansion Ballot Measure Moving Forward –
  • Advocates Take Maine Medicaid Expansion Fight with LePage to Court –
  • Commentary: Canada’s Health Care Is Abysmal. Why Would We Copy It? –
  • Comparing U.S. Health Care Costs to Amounts in Other Countries Falls Short –

Obamacare Replacement in the Works

Obamacare Repeal May Be Closer Than You Think
By Quin Hillyer
Washington Examiner, April 26, 2018

Time and opportunity still exist to replace Obamacare. A number of conservative groups are working hard to craft a new plan to fix the multitude of problems Obamacare created—a replacement plan that could both pass Congress and work well in the real world. Behind the scenes, those groups (indeed, representatives from a growing number of groups) have continued to meet and tweak their plan, and they seem just a few weeks away from being able to unveil it.

Rick Santorum on Obamacare Repeal Plan: ‘We Have an Obligation to Fix What’s Broken’
By Sean Moran, Breitbart, May 2, 2018

Former Sen. Rick Santorum (R-PA) says that a new proposal will lower premiums and increase the number of people with health insurance.Santorum said, “We have a group of thinkers across the country working on this. We started with a basic idea of the block grant to the states, but we have redone the whole thing. It is very, very different than the previous iteration. This is a grassroots effort; the ideas have come from across the country. I am excited about this; I have never really seen something quite like this effort with a proposal being developed by outsiders.”

How Republicans Can Fix What Democrats Got Wrong On Health Care
By John C. Goodman
Forbes, April 25, 2018

We need to reform Obamacare, using principles that work and work well for seniors. As a practical matter, that can only be done at the state level. And since we are in uncharted waters, it makes sense to give the states lot of discretion in how they go about cleaning up a broken system. That means block-granting funds to the states and attaching very few restrictions on what the states can do with them.This should be a no-brainer for both Democrats and Republicans. But last year the Republicans chose to fashion a reform without Democratic involvement and Democrats (and the left-wing media) claimed the Republican block grant was abandoning the sick. Republicans can easily correct both mistakes. Democrats should be invited to the table.


Changes to Obamacare

New Precedent Allows Congress to Dismantle (Some Of) Obamacare
By Chris Jacobs
The Federalist, April 23, 2018

What does a ruling about automobile financing have to do with Obamacare? As it turns out, plenty. A repeal of finance regulation also allows Congress to nullify other regulatory actions the federal government took years ago—including those on Obamacare. The Senate recently acted to repeal a piece of regulatory guidance the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) issued back in March 2013. To be sure, Congress cannot pass resolutions of disapproval regarding Obamacare rules that the Obama administration officially submitted years ago, which is most of them. But in some cases, the last administration may not have formally submitted sub-regulatory guidance, giving Congress an opening to repeal at least part of Obamacare’s regulatory structure.

Comments on Short-Term, Limited Duration Insurance
By Michael C. Cannon
Cato Institute, April 23, 2018

Michael Cannon of the Cato Institute submitted comments on the proposed Trump administration rule involving short-term, limited duration insurance. He writes that: 1) Consumers need relief from the ACA, which is not working as Congress intended. Allowing short-term plans to offer 12-month contract terms and renewal guarantees would provide protection and relief to millions of consumers struggling with the cost of coverage under the ACA, and 2) Guaranteed-renewable individual-market plans provide coverage for patients with high-cost medical conditions that is equally or more secure than employer-sponsored coverage.


California Proposes Auto-Enrollment

Dem Proposes Testing Automatic ObamaCare Enrollment
By Peter Sullivan
The Hill, April 27, 2018

Rep. Ami Bera (D-CA) is proposing to test automatically enrolling people in ObamaCare plans as a way to cut the uninsured rate. Bera unveiled a bill that would give grants to states to set up pilot programs to automatically enroll eligible people in ObamaCare plans or Medicaid. People would still have 60 days to opt-out if they wanted to, so they would not be forced to buy coverage, but Bera says the idea is that people are more likely to sign up if the default is to be signed up and they need to actively opt-out of coverage.


Medicaid

NH House Quickly Passes Medicaid Expansion Bill
By Holly Ramer
Associated Press, May 3, 2018

New Hampshire state legislators have voted to continue the state’s expanded Medicaid program, with the House spending almost no time debating one of the session’s biggest policy issues. The current program uses Medicaid funds to purchase private health plans for about 50,000 low-income residents, but it will expire this year if lawmakers don’t reauthorize it. The bill would continue the program for five years but change its structure to a more cost-effective managed care model. The plan also would impose new work requirements on enrollees and use 5% of liquor revenues to cover the state’s cost as federal funding decreases. Senate leaders, who have passed a similar bill, praised the House vote, as did Republican Gov. Chris Sununu.

Idaho Medicaid Expansion Ballot Measure Moving Forward
By Nathaniel Weixel
The Hill, April 30, 2018

Idaho is poised to allow a vote on Medicaid expansion after an activist group said it has collected enough signatures to put it on the November ballot. Reclaim Idaho said it has collected the required 56,192 signatures needed to place the measure on the ballot. The deadline to turn in the signatures is Monday. According to the group, county clerks need to verify the signatures by June 30 for the initiative to be placed before voters.

Advocates Take Maine Medicaid Expansion Fight with LePage to Court
By Michael Shepherd
BDN Politics, April 30, 2018

Supporters of Medicaid expansion sued Maine on Monday to force state officials to implement the voter-approved law that has been held up by Gov. Paul LePage, who has stalled it for months while imploring the legislature to first fund it on his terms. In doing so, they put Attorney General Janet Mills on the hot seat, with a lawyer saying the suit will end quickly if the Democratic gubernatorial candidate and frequent foe of the Republican governor agrees with them because she controls the state’s legal representation.


International Single-Payer

Commentary: Canada’s Health Care Is Abysmal. Why Would We Copy It?
By Sally C. Pipes
Fortune Magazine, April 26, 2018

The American people don’t really understand what supporting a single-payer plan means. For instance, in October 2017, 47% believed they’d be able to keep their current health coverage if a single-payer plan were put into place, according to Kaiser. They’re sorely mistaken. Bills that would launch a government takeover of the country’s health care sector are meandering through Congress and numerous statehouses across the country. Those measures would outlaw private insurance within a matter of years. If any of them pass, Americans will find themselves paying sky-high taxes for access—not to care but to a waiting list.

Comparing U.S. Health Care Costs to Amounts in Other Countries Falls Short
By Robert Popovian
Morning Consult, May 4, 2018

A common argument from health care price control advocates is that there is a significant price differential for health care services between the U.S. and other developed countries, and that these differences drive higher per capita spending in the U.S. versus developed countries. However, several factors can influence how much a nation spends on health care, including overall utilization of services and technology, types of professionals used to deliver care, the use of biopharmaceuticals to offset more expensive health care services, and the underlying health status of the population. These and other influencers can have a direct impact on a country’s health care spending patterns.