News

Reductions In Federal Funding For Health Law Navigators Cut Unevenly

October 26, 2017, NPR, Alex Olgin- Despite all of the efforts in Congress to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act this year, it remains the law of the land. People can start signing up for health insurance for 2018 starting Nov.1. But the landscape for the law has changed a lot.Take navigators, for instance. Those are specially trained people who help consumers sign up for coverage. In August, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services cut funding for navigators by 41 percent.But the effects vary. For some groups and some states, the cuts go deeper while others will have almost as much money as they did before.The Trump administration has said that it is rewarding groups that did a good job and cutting off those that didn’t. But the strategy may have the effect of hobbling navigators who have the most daunting job enrolling people.


Gov. Bryant wants Medicaid eligibility under Human Services, alludes to work requirement

October 26, 2017, The Clarion-Ledger, Anna Wolfe- Gov. Phil Bryant has instructed officials to develop plans to transfer all Medicaid eligibility verification responsibilities to the Department of Human Services. If the change is made, Human Services will be responsible for determining the eligibility of Medicaid applicants, alongside applicants for the services they already provide like Temporary Assistance for Needy Families and Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. Roy Mitchell, director of the Mississippi Health Advocacy Program, said Medicaid eligibility used to be a function of Human Services and, back then, he witnessed verification officers overburdened with cases. Mitchell said this resulted in some Medicaid recipients erroneously losing their coverage.


The Health 202: Obamacare may lose 1.1 million people because of advertising cuts

October 23, 2017, The Washington Post, Paige Winfield Cunningham- The Trump administration’s move to dramatically slash Healthcare.gov advertising could translate to at least 1.1 million fewer people signing up this year, says the Obama appointee who ran marketing for the federal health insurance website in 2016. Josh Peck, who served as Healthcare.gov’s chief marketing officer under the former president and now heads up the group Get America Covered—estimated how many fewer Americans might enroll in the Affordable Care Act marketplaces in 2018. He did so by applying what he learned about past signup periods in which the Obama administration spent 10 times what the current administration says it will now invest.


Cheaper Health Plans Promoted by Trump Have a History of Fraud

October 21, 2017, The New York Times, Robert Pear- In signing a recent executive order, President Trump promised that millions of Americans could soon obtain “great, great health care” through inexpensive plans that offer consumers options they had been denied under the Affordable Care Act. But these health plans, created for small businesses, have a darker side: They have a long history of fraud and abuse that have left employers and employees with hundreds of millions of dollars in unpaid medical bills. The problems are described in dozens of court cases and enforcement actions taken over more than a decade by federal and state officials who regulate the type of plans Mr. Trump is encouraging, known as association health plans.


Rate of people without health insurance rises for first time since 2014

October 20, 2017, The Hill, Peter Sullivan- The percentage of people who do not have health insurance rose to 12.3 percent in the third quarter of the year, the first such rise since ObamaCare took effect in 2014.The hike in the uninsured rate, up 1.4 percent according to Gallup since the beginning of the year, comes as the GOP Congress has sought to repeal the law and as President Trump has threatened to allow its implosion Trump last week said he would end federal payments to insurers meant to help people afford ObamaCare, and his administration has cut funds that would sign people for the health exchanges. Democrats have been attacking Trump for “sabotage” of the law, highlighting the 90 percent cut to the advertising and outreach budget. When ObamaCare went into effect in 2014, the nation saw a steep drop in the uninsured rate, which had peaked at 18 percent in 2013.


I.R.S. Says It Will Reject Tax Returns that Lack Health Insurance Disclosure

October 20, 2017, New York Times, Reed Abelson- Despite President Trump’s pronouncements, not only is Obamacare not dead, there are signs that his administration is keeping it alive. In the latest signal that the Affordable Care Act is still law, the Internal Revenue Service said this week that it is taking steps to enforce the most controversial provision: the tax penalty people face if they refuse to obtain health insurance.Next year, for the first time, the I.R.S. will reject your tax return when filed electronically if you do not complete the information required about whether you have coverage, including whether you are exempt from the so-called individual mandate or will pay the penalty. If you file your tax return on paper, the agency said it could suspend processing of the return and delay any refund you might be owed.