In the Health Reform Update for this week, Senate leaders shelve bipartisan plans to stabilize Affordable Care Act (ACA) Marketplaces in favor of a last-ditch effort to repeal key ACA provisions before the September 30th expiration of its budget reconciliation authority. However, the latest repeal plan currently lacks the votes to pass after key Senators defect over concerns about higher out-of-pocket costs and dramatic cuts in federal funding to states (roughly $713 billion through 2026).
The Congressional Budget Office predicts that the uncertainty over ACA repeal and dramatic cuts in advertising and outreach funding could cause Marketplace enrollment to fall by more than one million consumers next year while premiums rise by an average of 15 percent.
Dominant insurer Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield reverses it decision to leave the ACA Marketplace in Virginia and agrees to remain in several others, but only with dramatic premium increases to protect against the possibility that ACA cost-sharing subsidies will be terminated.
The Arizona Supreme Court agrees to hear a challenge to that state’s Medicaid expansion, while the California governor weighs whether to sign the most comprehensive prescription drug price transparency bill in the nation.