In the Health Reform Update for the past two weeks, the U.S. Supreme Court refuses to hear the latest procedural challenge to the Affordable Care Act (ACA) while President Obama prepares to sweeten the pot for the 19 states that are still refusing to participate in the ACA’s Medicaid expansion. The Medicare Payment Advisory Commission recommends that Congress cut Medicare Part B payments by ten percent for discounted drugs furnished to safety net providers in the Section 340B program.
At the urging of health insurers, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) eliminates six special enrollment periods for next year. The agency acknowledges that premiums in federally-facilitated Marketplaces have risen by an average of nine percent for this year’s open enrollment period, although insurer participation has remained stable. New surveys show that the steep drop in the uninsured rate after full ACA implementation started to plateau in 2015.
Kentucky’s new governor takes steps to move his state’s successful ACA Marketplace to federal control while the governor’s task force in Minnesota votes to maintain state control over its Marketplace despite technological failures. Republican lawmakers in Nebraska and Wyoming renew efforts to expand Medicaid despite repeated defeats.