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So Now What?

  • Heads Up: Healthcare Is Still in Trouble The Fiscal Times by Rob Garver — The issue of the U.S. health insurance system was taken off the front burner with the evident failure of the Republican effort to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. But while it may not be in the headlines as much as it once was, the health care system in the United States is still in need of serious attention. Insurers, for example, still don’t know whether or not they can expect to continue to receive cost sharing reduction payments from the government, part of the original arrangement made under the law to keep them profitable without raising rates to unaffordable levels.

  • Trump Administration Shifts Tone on Obamacare, Signals Openness to Bipartisan 'Fix' Los Angeles Times by Noah Bierman — The Trump administration, thwarted in several attempts to repeal the Affordable Care Act, notably shifted tone Wednesday, opening the door for a bipartisan plan to "fix" the law. The change came even as a fight escalated between President Trump and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) over who is to blame for the Republican Party's failure to repeal Obamacare. "Both folks in the House and the Senate, on both sides of the aisle frankly, have said that Obamacare doesn't work, and it needs to be either repealed or fixed," Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price said on the Fox News program “Fox & Friends.” "So the onus is on Congress," he said. Talk of fixing the law is new for most Republicans. Price and President Trump have long focused only on repealing or replacing it.

  • Bipartisan Health Policy Coalition Urges Congress to Strengthen the ACA Washington Post by Amy Goldstein — An unlikely coalition of liberal and conservative health policy leaders is calling on Congress to strengthen the existing health care law in a variety of ways to help Americans get and keep insurance. The group is urging the government, in particular, to continuing paying all the federal subsidies provided under the Affordable Care Act and to help Americans enroll in coverage. In a five-point set of principles issued Wednesday, the coalition lays out a potential bipartisan path forward after a Republican strategy to tilt federal health policies in more conservative directions failed in the Senate last month. The four-page consensus document by the Health Reform Roundtable is the product of eight months of discussions among an ideologically eclectic group of nine health-care experts based at think tanks, universities and advocacy groups — some of whom have held senior policy roles in the federal government or presidential campaigns.

  • Women—Young And Older—Reap Benefits Of Obamacare, Study Says NPR (Louisville) by Lisa Gillespie — For over three decades, Sarah Cox has given women pap smears, mammograms and advice about options for contraception. But her Louisville practice is small – only five people – and she can’t afford to provide her employees with health insurance. That benefit gap wasn’t usually a problem until one employee’s circumstances changed and they needed insurance. Cox said that’s when the Affordable Care Act — also known as Obamacare — came to the rescue. “It’s made it possible for her to keep insurance because it’s been available, which is huge for us,” Cox said. “She’s’ been with us since day one, so to keep her as an employee was very important to us.” Cox’s employee gained coverage through Kentucky’s individual insurance market, known as Kynect at the time. But the employee didn’t just gain health insurance. She also received ACA-required maternity coverage and free contraception — neither were routinely covered before the law was implemented. Also prior to Obamacare, health insurers could charge higher premiums to women because of age and they could deny coverage based on gender. After the implementation of the ACA, the number of uninsured women in the U.S. fell from 20 percent in 2010 to 11 percent in 2016. That’s according to a new study out Thursday from the Commonwealth Fund.

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