HealthCheck January 27, 2012

 

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January 27, 2012

Academy Activities

The Academy filed an amicus curiae brief today with the U.S. Supreme Court on the question before the court of whether to overturn a lower court ruling that the individual health insurance mandate included in the Affordable Care Act can be “severed” from the guaranteed issue and modified community rating provisions. The Academy’s brief provides actuarial input to the court on the consequences of severing the mandate—should it be invalidated by the court—and allowing the market reforms to remain in effect.
       “Severing the mandate from the guaranteed issue and modified community rating provisions would result in greater adverse selection, leading to lower participation and higher health insurance premiums,” Academy Senior Health Fellow Cori Uccello said in a news release on the filing. “During the deliberations on the health reform legislation, the Academy urged Congress and the administration to include, along with any market reforms, mechanisms to ensure a broad cross-section of enrollee participation. From an actuarial perspective, this is a fundamental principle.”
       The Academy is not taking a position on the law itself, on the constitutionality of the mandate, or if the mandate is severable from any provisions in the law other than those related to guaranteed issue and community rating.
       The amicus brief is available at: http://www.actuary.org/pdf/Academy_amicus_(11-393).pdf.

The Academy is developing a series of 2012 campaign toolkits designed to equip members across all practice areas with the tools necessary to deliver objective information about important issues within their communities. The first toolkit, which was developed by the Health Practice Council and released in November, focuses on Medicare’s financial condition and provides an overview of the basic structure of Medicare, the challenges to the program’s solvency and sustainability, and options that have been proposed to reform the program. The toolkit includes a standard slide deck, notes to assist members with crafting public presentations, and issue briefs and other policy statements that can be handed out or used to enhance a presentation.

The Academy’s Health Practice Council on Dec. 9 presented a webinar, What Every Actuary Should Know about Medicare. More than 1,500 actuaries from all practice areas attended the 90-minute presentation on Medicare’s current structure and financial condition as well as options and prospects for reform in light of ongoing efforts to reduce the deficit. Presenters Tom Wildsmith, vice president of the Health Practice Council, and Cori Uccello, Academy senior health fellow, also discussed the effects of various options for reform on cost, access, and quality. Click here for a recording of the webinar and other webinar resources.

Legislative and Regulatory Updates

check mark The House Ways and Means Committee on Jan. 18 voted 23 to 13 to approve HR 1173, the Fiscal Responsibility and Retirement Security Act of 2011, repealing the Community Living Assistance Services and Supports (CLASS) Act that would have created a voluntary long-term care services program. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius issued a letter in October 2011 withdrawing support for the CLASS Act after it was determined that there was no way to ensure the program’s long-term financial stability. The bill is expected to be voted on by the full House next week.

In The News/Media Activities

In an op-ed that was published by Politico on Jan. 17, Rep. Charles Boustany (R-La.) urged support of his efforts to repeal the Community Living Assistance Services and Supports (CLASS) Act. In his article, Boustany cited the Academy for expressing concerns with the CLASS Act.

 

Upcoming Health Care Reform Events

Medical Loss Ratios—Final Regulations and Repercussions for the Health Insurance Marketplace

Webinar: Feb. 8, Noon–1:30 p.m. EST (fee charged)

Sponsors: Academy, Society of Actuaries

 

The Affordable Care Act—What Every Actuary Should Know

Webinar: Feb. 10, Noon–1:30 p.m. EST (free)

Sponsors: Academy, Conference of Consulting Actuaries, Society of Actuaries

 

For a complete listing of upcoming and recent health care reform events click here.