CMS has issued a proposed regulation that makes smaller changes to the standards states meet when running their Medicaid plans. The proposed rule would give states some new flexibility in setting rates for their managed care plans and ensuring insurance companies have adequate provider networks. The CMS worked with Medicaid directors to develop the proposal. “Today’s action fulfills one of my earliest commitments to reset and restore the federal-state relationship, while at the same time modernizing the program to deliver better outcomes for the people we serve,” CMS Administrator Seema Verma said in a statement.
Late last week, President Trump and Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar announced a plan to deal with the high cost of prescription drugs in the U.S. relative to the price of the same drugs in other developed countries. The reason for this disparity is well-known: Other countries impose socialized medicine price controls on prescription medicines, while here in the U.S. the price charged is closer to the true market price of the product.
HHS wants to cancel its plans to postpone imposing new ceiling prices for the 340B drug discount program. The agency issued a proposed rulemaking on Wednesday that suggested the long-delayed rule will now be effective Jan. 1, instead of July 1, 2019, as originally announced earlier this year.
HHS has delayed the effective date of the ceiling price rule five times, which would cap the prices drugmakers can charge hospitals that participate in 340B. The American Hospital Association and several other medical trade groups sued the agency last fall to force it to publish the delayed regulations.
Between the election campaign and incidents of terrorism ranging from attempted bombings to a synagogue shooting, an obscure regulatory proposal by the Trump administration has yet to captivate the public’s attention. However, it has the potential to change the way millions of Americans obtain health insurance.
In August 2018, the Trump administration finalized a rule to strengthen short-term plans by allowing individuals to keep them for a period of up to 364 days. This standard is the same one that existed for nearly twenty years, until—eight days before the 2016 election—the Obama administration suddenly prohibited consumers from buying short-term plans for longer than three months at a time. The new rule also provides consumers with the opportunity to renew these plans annually for up to three years.
The new rule is one of several strategies the Trump administration has pursued to offer more affordable options to millions of Americans who were priced out of the insurance market by skyrocketing premiums. Premiums in the individual market more than doubled between 2013 and 2017 and premiums for the benchmark plan in the individual market increased by another 37 percent on average in 2018.
While Obamacare has been neither repealed nor replaced, it is being superseded. As President Donald Trump said, “We will deliver relief to American workers, families, and small businesses, who right now are being crushed by Obamacare, by increasing freedom, choice, and opportunity for the American people.”
The total number of Americans with health insurance rose from 292.3 million in 2016 to 294.6 million in 2017, the Census Bureau reports. Some of the following new reforms have helped 2.3 million more Americans enjoy medical coverage and alternatives under Republican leadership rather than Democrat mismanagement.
Ever since efforts to legislatively repeal Obamacare ended ignominiously with a “thumbs down” from the late Sen. John McCain on the Senate floor, the Trump administration has been hard at work doing what they can to give families more and better healthcare choices than what Obamacare saddled them with. In so doing, they have created several welcome escape hatches from Obamacare, or what Phil Kerpen from American Commitment calls “Making Obamacare Optional.”
A new guidance issued Monday by the Trump administration loosens restrictions states face to waive ObamaCare requirements and will allow them to pursue conservative health policies that were previously not allowed under the Obama administration.
Currently, states can apply for waivers from certain ObamaCare policies in order to help shore up individual insurance markets. The waivers were designed with specific “guardrails” meant to ensure that the waivers met at least the same coverage level as under ObamaCare.
The new guidance loosens those restrictions and allows states to promote health plans that don’t require the same level of coverage as the federal health law.
The administration is proposing a regulation that would create a new way for employers to provide health coverage for employees. This proposal would give millions of workers and their families more control over their health care. It also holds the promise of more-efficient health-care spending, expanded business growth, and higher wages.
The proposed regulation seeks to accomplish this by expanding Health Reimbursement Arrangements. HRAs provide employer-funded reimbursements, which employees can use for health-care expenses. Reimbursements under an HRA do not count as taxable income.