Expert witness Grace-Marie Turner of the Galen Institute said policies like the new Section 1332 guidelines aren’t meant to drive a stake into the Affordable Care Act, but rather give more discretion to states to tailor health care needs specifically for their own citizens. “Cost relief” is the driving force behind state discretion, Turner said. 

GOP lawmakers balk at the rising costs of Obamacare premiums for constituents who fall into middle-range tax brackets. And putting healthy people in the pool with the chronically ill, some say, just adds to the premium hike. 

CNN and NBC exit polling last November showed a huge Democratic advantage on health care. But socialized medicine wasn’t on the ballot.

As for 2020, Democrats know people don’t want socialized medicine, so they have been calling it “Medicare for All” even though the prototype legislation ends Medicare along with private insurance. Consumers may be starting to figure this out.

Optum Rx, one of America’s largest pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs) sent a letter to drug companies outlining several demands the companies must meet if they seek to lower list prices for their medicines. This would put another obstacles in the path of lowering drug prices.

The letter was sent to several drug manufacturers. In it, Optum demanded a couple of things: 1) at least seven quarters notice before a company reduces its list prices, and 2) equivalent rebates off of lowered prices as compared to existing prices. The message is unclear whether Optum wants rebates to stay the same or the same percentage of a price. But either way, drug companies are unhappy with the letter, since many companies are looking to lower list prices for certain drugs. Additionally the letter was high handed and Optum seems like it is attempting to dictate the terms of various projects.

Gov. Brian Kemp unveiled legislation Wednesday that could remake health care for hundreds of thousands of Georgians. Or just a few.

The Patients First Act would give the governor wide latitude to approve a range of options in pursuit of federal “waivers” with the aim of improving government-funded health care access for the poor and middle class.

HCCI’s annual reports examine year-over-year and 5-year cumulative trends in health care spending for individuals with employer-sponsored insurance, segmented by health care service category. Downloadable tables and interactive tools allow for further exploration of the data that power these reports.

This year’s report found that average annual health care spending for individuals with employer-sponsored insurance increased to an all-time high of $5,641 in 2017, despite little change in the utilization of services overall. While overall spending growth slowed in 2017 compared to 2016, the report finds that prices continued to drive rising costs.

The Utah Legislature on Monday passed a bill to replace the voter-approved Medicaid expansion with a skinny expansion, a move that may encourage other states to seek similar scaled-back expansions with full federal funding.

The Republican-controlled Utah Senate approved legislation passed by the state House of Representatives Friday that replaces the voter-passed expansion to adults with incomes up to 138% of the federal poverty level with an expansion only to 100% of the poverty level. It passed on a near party-line vote, with one Republican joining all Democrats in opposition.

Galen Institute president Grace-Marie Turner testified before the House Energy and Commerce Committee on Feb. 13 about preserving consumer protections in health insurance while giving consumers more choices of affordable coverage.  She focused on:

  • The Trump administration’s Section 1332 guidance which gives states new authority to help their individual and small group markets heal from the damage the ACA has done. Early waivers have seen premium costs reduced by 30% or more and enrollment in health coverage increase.
  • The importance of the administration’s new rule allowing people to purchase temporary health insurance (so called Short-Term Limited Duration Plans) to help them bridge gaps between coverage, either because they are between jobs, starting new businesses, or retiring early
  • The strong commitment on both sides of the political aisle to pre-existing condition protections
  • And the value of private agents and brokers in doing outreach for exchange enrollment—enrolling 40% of policyholders vs 1% for the ACA-created Navigators

Democrats and Republicans on the House Energy and Commerce Committee on Wednesday signaled they could band together to slap clear consumer warnings on short-term limited-duration health plans.

Rep. Morgan Griffith (R-Va.) and Grace-Marie Turner, president of the conservative Galen Institute who defended the Trump administration’s expansion of short-term plans as a needed low-cost alternative to ACA coverage, agreed the limited coverage of short-term plans warranted advisories.

A political party is asking for trouble when it embraces a position on a high-profile issue that most Americans oppose. But it isn’t easy to avoid this pitfall when a majority of the party’s own members endorse that position. As the campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination heats up, the Medicare for All plan first proposed by Sen. Bernie Sanders risks pushing candidates into this trap.

The stakes are very high: This unforced error could give President Trump his best chance to win re-election in 2020.

The laser focus on expanding the government’s role in health care has coincided with a double-digit slide in net support for “Medicare for all” among voters from January to February, according to new data from a Morning Consult/Politico poll.

Although “Medicare for all” enjoyed net support of 27 percentage points (calculated by subtracting the share of opponents from the share of supporters) among registered voters at the onset of 2019, that share dropped 15 points in the Feb. 7-10 survey, to 12 points.