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April 29, 2011

Academy Activities

The Academy’s Exchanges Work Group sent a letter on April 5 to the National Association of Insurance Commissioner’s Exchanges (B) Subgroup commenting on its white paper on adverse selection.


Legislative and Regulatory Updates

check markPresident Obama signed legislation on April 14 that repeals the Form 1099 reporting requirement included in the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The Form 1099 provision of the law would have required all businesses and tax-exempt organizations to issue a Form 1099 for payments for goods and services that total $600 or more a year.

check markThe Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services issued a proposed rule on April 17 that would implement section 3022 of the ACA relating to Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs).  That section allows providers participating in ACOs to continue to receive Medicare fee-for-service payments under Parts A and B. In addition, if the ACO meets specified cost and quality benchmarks, providers would be eligible for additional payments. Comments on the proposed rule are due by June 6.

check markPresident Obama signed a budget agreement on April 15 that will continue funding the federal government through this fiscal year. The compromise between the House and Senate was nearly $13 billion, or 7.6 percent, below the president’s fiscal year 2011 budget request. As part of the agreement, funding for the ACA’s health insurance cooperatives program was cut by $2.2 billion and the free choice voucher program that would allow low-income workers to opt out of their employer-sponsored plans to obtain coverage through state health insurance exchanges was repealed.

check markIn an April 13 address on reducing the deficit, President Obama proposed cutting the cost of government-provided health care by $340 billion over 10 years by strengthening the role of an Independent Payment Advisory Board, setting a lower target for Medicare growth, and reducing the federal contribution to Medicaid.

check markThe House passed Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan’s (R-Wis.) fiscal year 2012 budget proposal (H. Con. Res. 34) on April 15. Ryan’s plan would repeal the ACA and would end Medicare for Americans who are currently age 55 or younger, replacing it with a voucher system which would give them a stipend to purchase private insurance when they reach Medicare eligibility. Medicaid would turn into a state block grant program. This proposal is not expected to pass the Senate.


In The News/Media Activities

After the release of a new U.S. Government Accountability Office report that explored possible alternatives to the individual health insurance coverage mandate contained within the Affordable Care Act, the Academy issued a March 28 news release warning that if the individual mandate is removed from the law, policymakers will need to enact alternatives to help limit adverse selection. The Academy press release was discussed and Academy Senior Health Fellow Cori Uccello was quoted in numerous articles, including the Hartford Courant on March 29, Insurance Journal and National Underwriter Life & Health on March 30, and Employee Benefits Adviser on April 13.

The Academy’s adverse selection and sustainability concerns regarding the Community Living Assistance Services and Supports (CLASS) Act were highlighted in a March 31 op-ed published in the Washington Times.  Academy concerns also were cited in an op-ed by Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) that was published by Roll Call on April 5.

News links are to external websites. The Academy is not responsible for the content of these websites.


Upcoming Health Care Reform Events

Society of Actuaries Health Meeting
Conference: June 13-15, Boston (fee charged)
Sponsor: Society of Actuaries

Health Exchange Symposium
Conference: July 14, Newport, R.I. (fee charged)
Sponsor: National Conference of Insurance Legislators

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