In the Health Reform Update for this week, Congress passes a budget resolution that will allow them to dismantle key provisions of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) later this month. President-elect Trump pledges to introduce an immediate replacement plan in February although some Republican leaders are insisting on a “transition period” of at least 2-3 years to prevent “chaos” in the individual health insurance market. Republican leaders also break with the President-elect on his plans to give Medicare Part D the authority to negotiate prescription drug prices.
The chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee commits to extending the ACA’s cost-sharing subsidies through at least 2017 even though the President-elect could terminate them immediately by dropping the Obama Administration’s appeal of an adverse federal court decision. A separate federal court allows insurers to pursue a class action lawsuit to recover unpaid ACA risk corridor payments from 2014-2016.
ACA Marketplaces experience record enrollment despite the threat of repeal and an average premium increase of more than 20 percent for the most popular plans. New studies blame the premium increases largely on initial “underpricing” by insurers and predict they are a “one-time correction”.
The North Carolina legislature obtains a court order blocking the new governor’s effort to expand Medicaid under the ACA before the Obama Administration leaves office. Minnesota Republicans pass a premium relief plan to give consumers ineligible for ACA subsidies up to a 25 percent rebate on 2017 premiums.