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Affordable Care Act Stabilization / Spending Bill

  • Medical Research, Drug Treatment and Mental Health Are Winners in New Budget Bill National Public Radio by Alison Kodjak — The big budget deal reached this week in the House doesn't include a long-sought-after provision to stabilize the Affordable Care Act marketplaces. But the $1.3 billion plan, set to fund the government through September, has lots of new money for medical research, addiction treatment and mental health care. Here's the rundown of what's included in the 2,232-page spending bill, now in the hands of a Senate vote, based on summaries released by the House and Senate appropriations committees.

  • Who in Industry Wins/Loses in Omnibus Bill? Modern Healthcare by Susannah Luthi — Congressional leaders released the long-awaited $1.3 trillion, two-year spending omnibus after days of wrangling behind closed doors over contentious policies, including an embattled stabilization package for the individual market that would fund cost-sharing reduction payments and a $30 billion reinsurance pool. Here's what did and did not make it into the bill. Winners included: insurers that fought to keep a new policy that phases down their share of the cost of prescription drugs not covered by Medicare while raising it for drugmakers; the National Institutes of Health; and opioid addiction abatement efforts, which received $500 million to develop alternative pain medication. Losers included:  Insurers that had been optimistic following the weekend's negotiations for CSRs and reinsurance; the Affordable Care Act, which now faces several attempts to limit data or grant opportunities related to the legislation; and drugmakers, who wanted to offload some of their newfound financial liability for the Medicare Part D donut hole back to insurers.

  • Health Insurance Premiums Loom as Election Issue  Wall Street Journal by Stephanie Armour — Health insurance premiums are likely to jump right before the November elections, a result of Congress’s omission of federal money to shore up insurance exchanges from its new spending package. Lawmakers from both parties had pushed to include the funding in the $1.3 trillion spending law signed Friday, but they couldn’t agree on details. A battle has already begun over how to cast the blame for the expected rate increases. The finger-pointing comes as health care is expected to be a top issue in this year’s midterm elections. Both parties face political risks, although polls have so far shown voters are more likely to hold Republicans responsible for high costs.

  • With No Fix in Omnibus Budget Bill, Insurers Set To Hike Premiums, Rethink Selling Individual Plans Modern Healthcare by Shelby Livingston — In a blow to health insurers, the House on Thursday passed a $1.3 trillion, two-year omnibus spending bill that didn't include funding for cost-sharing reduction payments or a federal reinsurance program. Insurers had been lobbying hard to get something included in the massive spending bill. Absent that lifeline, insurers will likely be raising premiums and rethinking their participation in the individual market in 2019....The industry's dominant lobbying group, America's Health Insurance Plans, and the Alliance for Community Health Plans, which represents not-for-profit insurers, are regrouping after the loss. 

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