HealthCheck, October 2017

Academy activities, legislative/regulatory updates, and more.

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October 11, 2017

Academy Activities

The Health Practice Council sent comments to U.S. Senate leadership on the Graham-Cassidy-Heller-Johnson (GCHJ) bill, a health care reform proposal that would have made revisions to the individual health insurance market and approaches to federal Medicaid funding.

As the debate over health care reform continues, and with lawmakers and the public alike considering the possible impacts of expanded use of association health plans (AHPs), the Academy’s expert, nonpartisan analysis has been cited by numerous national media outlets.

A Washington Post story quoted Senior Health Fellow Cori Uccello on how allowing individuals or small groups to join the large group insurance market, which is exempt from the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) requirement that individuals and small group plans cover essential health benefits, could result in the deterioration of the marketplaces. An article in The Hill quoted Uccello on the expected executive order on AHPs and what will happen when the changes take effect. The story was reprinted by MSN. In a Wall Street Journal story, Uccello discussed how the executive order could cause a bifurcation of the market. The story was reprinted by Morning Star, The Money Street, Kaiser Health News, and

Uccello was quoted in a Bloomberg BNA story on the purpose of the ACA’s individual mandate.
Kaiser Health News quoted Uccello on how proposals to expand the use of AHPs could tilt the market in their favor over non-AHP small group and individual market plans, while citing the Individual and Small Group Markets Committee’s health care issue brief on AHPs. The story was reprinted by several media outlets, including CNN Money, Healthcare Finance News, Fierce Healthcare, (Pa.), Crossroads Today (Tex.), and (Fla.).

A CNN Money story cited the Academy’s issue brief on AHPs. The story was republished by (Ill.), Local 10 News (Fla.), Global Dispatch, and The issue brief was also cited by the Los Angeles Times (twice), Chicago Tribune, and Axios.

Health Care Updates on the Agenda for Annual Meeting
and Public Policy Forum

Regular registration ends next week for Academy’s Annual Meeting and Public Policy Forum, to be held Nov. 14–15 in Washington, D.C. The event will shed a light on today’s top issues, including up-to-date information on the status and future of health care legislation and regulations and potential implications for your work. See the health breakout sessions information on the Annual Meeting page. The Academy believes in good faith that you may earn 1.8 continuing education (CE) credits for each breakout session; professionalism CE will also be available. Regular registration runs through Friday, Oct. 20—register today.

Legislative/Judicial/Regulatory Updates

check markA 1332 State Innovation Waiver requested by Oregon was deemed complete by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) on Sept. 11. Officials are now determining whether to approve the waiver, with a public comment period open through today, Oct. 11.

check markThe Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee held a hearing on Sept. 14 on “Stabilizing Premiums and Helping Individuals in the Individual Insurance Market for 2018.”

check markFederal funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) expired at the end of September. The Senate Finance Committee approved a bill on Oct. 4 that would reauthorize CHIP for another five years. The legislation awaits approval by the full Senate and the U.S. House of Representatives.

check markThe House Ways and Means committee approved a bill Oct. 4 that would repeal Medicare’s Independent Payment Advisory Board.

check markThe Senate Finance Committee held a hearing on the GCHJ health care proposal. However, the GCHJ proposal, which was scored by the Congressional Budget Office and was intended to be passed through reconciliation, failed to come to the Senate floor for a vote before the chamber’s reconciliation instructions expired at the end of September. Under reconciliation, senators could pass significant health care legislation with a simple majority; unless new reconciliation instructions are passed, a 60-vote majority is required. A budget resolution approved by the Senate Budget Committee indicates that the chamber has shifted its focus from health care reform to tax reform.

check markMassachusetts submitted a 1332 State Innovation Waiver to HHS.

check markMinnesota Gov. Mark Dayton (D) sent a letter Sept. 19 to HHS requesting approval of the state’s 1332 State Innovation Waiver, as well as the reversal of a decision by HHS to reduce funding for MinnesotaCare, which would cost the state more in lost funding than the revenues gained through the approved 1332 waiver. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) approved the waiver on Sept. 22 and rejected the request to reverse its decision regarding funding for MinnesotaCare.

check markCMS formally withdrew the Medicare Part B drug payment model that was announced in March 2016. The model would have tested alternative drug payment plans with the aim of reducing Medicare expenditures.

check markOklahoma withdrew a 1332 State Innovation Waiver request after HHS failed to announce its decision on the request in time for the state to implement intended changes.

Nov. 10 Global Health Webinar Announced—
End-of-Life Care in an Aging World

A new webinar, co-hosted by the Academy and the International Actuarial Association Health Section (IAAHS), will explore the increased health care costs of global aging. Speakers will discuss quality of life during the end-of-life period, palliative versus curative care, and stakeholder strategies for addressing the unique health care challenges at the end of life. This webinar will be held on Nov. 10, from 11 a.m. to noon EST. Registration is free for Academy and IAAHS members.

In the News / Media Activities

2017 Annual Meeting and Public Policy Forum