In the Health Reform Update for the past week, House Republican leaders unveil their long-awaited replacement for the Affordable Care Act (ACA) that would retain the law’s most popular provisions but repeal the individual and employer mandates, Medicare cost-cutting board, minimum essential health benefits, and other consumer protections. It would also transition Medicare into a premium support program where enrollees could use vouchers to purchase private coverage in an insurance exchange.
The Department of Health and Human Services seeks to limit the use of short-term health insurance coverage that can evade ACA standards and gives states $22 million in additional grants to strengthen their process for limiting “unreasonable” premium increases.
An initial victory in a class action lawsuit forces three more states to stop rationing Medicaid coverage for costly hepatitis C drugs only to those most severely ill. California becomes the first state to allow undocumented residents to purchase Marketplace coverage (pending federal approval), while Vermont enacts a first-in-the-nation law to require that drugmakers provide data justifying price increases for certain drugs. A non-profit insurance cooperative in Ohio becomes the 13thto fail due to the shortfall in ACA reinsurance payments for costly claims.