Vote on MacArthur Amendment delayed:
Last week, the House delayed voting on a revised bill to repeal and replace the 2010 Affordable Care Act, thwarting White House plans to hold a vote before President Donald Trump’s 100th day in office.
The revised American Health Care Act (AHCA) would include the amendment drafted by Representative Tom MacArthur (R-NJ) and Representative Mark Meadows (R-NC), intended to strike a compromise between members of the Freedom Caucus and more moderate Republicans. The “MacArthur Amendment” would allow states to seek waivers from certain provisions of the ACA, including the requirement that insurers cover certain “essential health benefits” and the requirement that insurers can’t charge more to individuals with preexisting conditions.
On Sunday, President Trump addressed concerns about the latest version of the bill with “Face the Nation” host John Dickerson, stating that the bill guarantees coverage to individuals with preexisting conditions. “Pre-existing conditions are in the bill. And I mandate it. I said, ‘Has to be,’” stated President Trump. While the latest version of the bill does require insurers to cover individuals with preexisting conditions, it removes the ACA requirement prohibiting insurers from charging higher rates to those individuals with preexisting conditions who allow their coverage to lapse.
The MacArthur Amendment requires states seeking a waiver to demonstrate that the waiver would reduce the cost of premiums in the state, increase the state’s number of insured individuals, and/or otherwise benefit the public interest of the state. However, the Amendment automatically would also grant a state’s waiver that hasn’t been denied by the federal government within 60 days of application.
Trump Administration will continue to pay subsidies to insurers for low-income individuals:
The Trump administration announced last week that it will continue to pay cost-sharing reduction payments to insurers to keep premiums affordable for low-income individuals, but for how much longer remains unclear. The Trump administration previously threatened to stop these payments in an apparent attempt to force Congressional Democrats to negotiate the terms of AHCA.
These payments, which are currently made by the executive branch, are the subject of a lawsuit challenging the executive branch’s authority to make such payments absent a Congressional appropriation. In effort to avoid a possible government shutdown last week, the Trump administration agreed to continue making the payments outside of the congressional spending process, at least temporarily.
CMS issues three payment rules for FY 2018 proposing increased payments to skilled-nursing facilities, inpatient rehabilitation facilities, and hospice care.
Last week, CMS issued three payment rules for Fiscal Year (FY) 2018 proposing increased payments to skilled-nursing facilities (SNF), inpatient rehabilitation facilities (IRF), and hospice care. The new payment rules propose a 1 percent increase in payments from FY 2017, which amounts to a $390 million increase for SNFs, an $80 million increase for IRFs, and $180 million increase for hospice. The new rules also propose new quality measures. CMS is accepting comments on the proposed changes until June 26, 2017.