- Ryan Calls For 'Incremental' Health Reforms After Failure of Obamacare Repeal The Hill by Peter Sullivan — Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) is calling for "incremental" health care reform after the Senate failed to pass an Obamacare replacement bill last year. Asked on Fox Business on Tuesday if lawmakers will try again to pass an Obamacare repeal legislation this year, Ryan pointed to incremental changes. "Well, I think there are a lot of things we can do kind of incrementally," Ryan said. The comments are an acknowledgement that there is no apparent path forward for a large-scale Obamacare replacement or entitlement reform bill this year in the Senate, where Republicans now have a one-seat majority.
- New Health Secretary Faces First Test as Idaho Skirts Federal Law New York Times by Robert Pear — Alex M. Azar II, the new secretary of health and human services, said Thursday that he would closely scrutinize a plan by Idaho to allow the sale of insurance that does not comply with the Affordable Care Act, an early test of how he will enforce a law he opposes. But he said it was too early to know what action he might take. "We'll be looking at that very carefully and measure it up against the standards of the law," Mr. Azar said at a hearing of the Senate Finance Committee. Democrats in Congress, as well as the American Cancer Society and other groups representing patients, say the Idaho plan would allow insurers to discriminate against people with preexisting medical conditions, in defiance of the federal law.
- Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services Reports That Repeal of Mandate Penalty Will Lead to Spike in Uninsured Modern Healthcare by Virgil Dickson — The Trump administration is projecting that nearly 8 million people will voluntarily lose insurance in the next eight years as a result of the repeal of the Affordable Care Act's financial penalty for not having health insurance. In all, 37.7 million people will be uninsured by 2026, up from the estimated 30 million in 2018, according to an analysis CMS actuaries released Wednesday. "These estimates assume that some younger and healthier people will choose to be uninsured, particularly those with comparatively higher incomes who would not qualify for premium subsidies in the marketplaces," Gigi Cuckler, senior economist in the office of the actuary at the CMS said at a news briefing. The findings appear in the agency's annual National Health Expenditure report.
Affordable Care Act