(Washington, DC) – The Trump administration is temporarily halting billions of dollars of payments to insurers required under the Affordable Care Act. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services announced yesterday it will stop collecting and paying out money under Obamacare’s “risk adjustment” program.
The CMS blamed a federal court ruling that found the system used to determine risk adjustment payments was flawed. Risk adjustment is the key method used to reimburse insurance companies required under Obamacare to accept all customers regardless of pre-existing health conditions.
Health insurance groups blasted the move, saying it will create uncertainty in the industry and increase premiums for many health plans.
(SL) – The latest Republican effort to repeal and replace Obamacare is officially dead. Senate Republican leaders pulled the Graham-Cassidy bill after it became clear they don’t have the votes to pass it. Three Republicans and all 48 Democrats oppose the measure that would have transferred federal health insurance dollars to states.
There’s no harm to Defense Secretary Jim Mattis or anyone else after a rocket attack on the airport in Kabul, Afghanistan. Two missiles hit the airport hours after Mattis and NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg arrived today for unannounced meetings with Afghan officials. The Taliban says it was trying to hit Mattis.
A controversial former state supreme court chief justice is the winner in Alabama’s Republican Senate primary runoff. Roy Moore defeated Senator Luther Strange by a comfortable margin last night. Moore said even though President Trump didn’t support his run, he’ll back Trump’s agenda.
Acting Homeland Security Secretary Elaine Duke says Puerto Rico faces a long, tough road to recovery. Hurricane Maria devastated the U.S. territory last week. Duke and FEMA chief Brock Long briefed reporters outside the White House yesterday. President Trump plans to visit Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands next week.
(SL) – Trump threatened to fire his Health and Human Services secretary, Dr. Tom Price, during a speech to the Boy Scouts, which he promised wouldn’t be political and would be about finding personal success.
Trump pulled Price onstage, saying that he ‘lives the Scout oath’ by keeping ‘millions of Americans strong and healthy’ in his role, before bringing up an important Senate Obamacare repeal vote tomorrow, and suggesting it would be the cabinet member’s head that would roll if Congressional Republicans came up short.
‘By the way, are you going to get the votes?’ Trump asked Price. ‘He better get them,’ Trump told the crowd. ‘He better get them. Otherwise, I’ll say “Tom, you’re fired.”‘
(SL) – Trumpcare had no chance of being implemented because simply put, Healthcare isn’t like turning on a light switch. It’s difficult and not something that can be constructed overnight.
New York Magazine reports, The American Health Care Act is a truly horrendous piece of legislation. But it did not become the vehicle for the Obamacare repeal effort because Trump, or Ryan, or anybody insisted on it over some other option. It became the repeal bill because nobody in the Republican Party had a better idea.
Reforming the health-care system is an inherently daunting project. What makes health care so resistant to change is that, the worse the system gets, the harder it is to change. More waste means more profit centers with an interest in protecting their income. And more uninsured people means more anxiety for those who do have insurance about losing it, and hence more resistance to change. The political miracle of Obamacare was its ability to design a way to cover the uninsured and to pay for the coverage in a politically viable fashion. The law found a way to solve a political problem that had frustrated would-be reformers for decades.
And they accomplished it against the ruthless opposition of a united party that has used every demagogic method to undermine it — in Washington, in the states, and in the courts.If Republicans had not launched a legal battle to allow states to deny Medicaid coverage to their citizens, and then cruelly taken up the opportunity to do so; sabotaged small but crucial risk-corridor payments to encourage insurer participation; and denied funds for outreach to exchange customers, it would be functioning better than it is. Still, it is functioning.
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