November 5, 2018, Politico, Adam Cancryn- Republicans who just endured months of withering attacks over health care will face an immediate high-stakes decision if, against all odds, they keep control of the House and Senate: whether to mount one more bid to kill Obamacare that’s almost certain to fail. The GOP believes it can’t just walk away from an eight-year pledge to repeal the law, a promise the party’s base still wants Republicans to keep despiteObamacare’s relative new popularity. If an election-night shocker keeps Republicans in power - rebuking the conventional wisdom that voters will punish them for their Obamacare attacks - they might be emboldened to mount another repeal push without risking reprisals at the polls next time around.
November 3, 2018, The Hill, Nathaniel Weixel- New actions from the Trump administration are complicating efforts of vulnerable Republicans to show their support for pre-existing condition protections heading into Tuesday’s midterm elections. The Trump administration moved last week to allow states to waive certain ObamaCare requirements and pursue conservative health policies that were previously not allowed under the Obama administration. “States know much better than the federal government how their markets work,” Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) Administrator Seema Verma said at the time. “We are making sure that they have the ability to adopt innovative strategies to reduce costs for Americans, while providing higher quality options.” The new rules would allow states to promote health plans that don’t require the same level of coverage as the federal health law, including charging people with pre-existing conditions more money.
November 2, 2018, Roll Call, Emily Kopp- As Republicans on the campaign trail have contorted the truth about their months long campaign to undo the 2010 health care law, they’ve provoked a tricky opponent: cancer survivors. Republicans have tried to contain the damage of their “repeal and replace” push as they defend their majorities in the midterm elections. In order to pull that off, the campaigns have had to find ways to discredit the sympathetic voices of people with complex medical needs who opposed their votes.
These health care advocates include people who got engaged in advocacy for the first time because of Republicans’ attempts to dismantle the law. They are patients with serious health conditions who are covered through the law’s marketplaces and patients who rely on Medicaid. They worry that without the law they could go into bankruptcy or go without care.
November 1, 2018, USA Today, Ken Alltucker- Chad Bertanzetti is young, active and healthy at 44. But he bought health insurance three years ago in case he was injured while enjoying outdoor hobbies such as rock climbing, snowboarding and mountain biking. So when a high-speed snowboarding accident shattered and dislocated the Colorado Springs man’s shoulder in 2016, he thought his hospital stay would be covered by his short-term plan. But repeated payment claims for a shoulder-repair operation, doctors’ visits and a follow-up surgery were rejected by his health insurer. Bertanzetti has filed a federal lawsuit challenging the refusal of HCC Life Insurance and HCC Medical Insurance to pay his claims. He has amassed tens of thousands of dollars in unpaid medical bills.
The federal government announced new rules that would allow states to apply for waivers so they could permit insurers to sell limited health insurance plans that offer bare-bones coverage through Affordable Care Act (ACA) marketplaces. This comes on the heels of rules released this year allowing insurers to sell short-term and association health plans on the individual market. Some argue this makes sense and that consumers want more affordable insurance options. The problem is that these plans are cheap but, in exchange for low premiums, they cover very little and can leave consumers who need health care with huge unexpected medical bills that they cannot afford to pay.
October 31, 2018, The Hill, Nathaniel Weixel- Wisconsin on Wednesday became the latest state to get approval from the Trump administration to impose work requirements on Medicaid beneficiaries. Wisconsin did not expand Medicaid, and the approval marks the first time a nonexpansion state has been given permission to impose work requirements. The waiver approval comes as the Trump administration faces a lawsuit in Arkansas over similar requirements and despite assessments from the state that thousands of people could lose Medicaid coverage. A federal judge already struck down work requirements in Kentucky and sent them back to the administration for review. Under the new rules, Medicaid recipients in the state will be required to work at least 80 hours a month to maintain eligibility. If they fail to do so for 48 aggregate months - any amount of time not working that adds up to four years - they will lose coverage for six months.