Court Ruling on Individual Mandate

ACA’s individual mandate is unconstitutional, appeals court rules

ACA's individual mandate is unconstitutional, appeals court rules
(Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
The US Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit upheld a lower court ruling that the Affordable Care Act’s mandate for individuals to enroll in health insurance is unconstitutional, sending the case back to the lower court to reconsider how much of the law should be dismantled. The ruling is not expected to affect millions of Americans who enrolled for 2020 coverage in recent weeks, and the law’s protections for people with preexisting conditions remain intact.

CNBC/The Associated Press (12/18),  CNN (12/18),  The Hill (12/18)


Calif. health care law could lead to workforce changes

A new law in California will require companies to reclassify some independent contractors as full-time employees eligible for benefits and could lead to workforce changes, experts say. However, some full-time contractors could lose hours and be switched to part-time status, while small companies may choose to completely drop health coverage.

Kaiser Health News (10/7)


Executive order on Medicare calls for flexibility for MA plans

President Donald Trump signed an executive order Thursday directing HHS to develop regulations that will allow Medicare Advantage plans to offer new plan designs to incentivize value, expand use of telehealth in Medicare and align payments for fee-for-service Medicare with those for MA and commercial plans, among other measures. Speaking at a Florida retirement community, Trump said proposals from some Democrats to expand Medicare to all Americans would destroy the existing program, take away choice and hurt current beneficiaries.

Reuters (10/3),  Healthcare Finance (10/3)


Trump to issue executive order aimed at strengthening Medicare

Administration officials said President Donald Trump would announce an executive order aimed at strengthening the Medicare program during a visit to a Florida retirement community Thursday. The executive order will encourage Medicare to increase use of telehealth services to reduce health care costs, direct government agencies to enable new plan pricing tools to incentivize high-value care in Medicare Advantage and align payments for traditional Medicare with those for MA plans, sources said.

Reuters (10/3)

Chronic Disease Care – HDHPs with HSAs

Executive order calls for HDHPs with HSAs to cover chronic disease care

An executive order signed last week by President Donald Trump directs the IRS and the Treasury Department to create rules within 120 days that require high-deductible health plans paired with health savings accounts to cover high-value services and treatments for chronic diseases. A bipartisan bill introduced in the Senate would mandate a similar goal, and a similar measure is expected to be introduced in the House.
No further information.  Will keep you posted
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Legislation Proposed to End Surprise Medical Bills

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Senators unveil revised legislation to end surprise medical bills

Senate Health Committee Chair Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., and ranking member Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., have released a revised version of their health care legislative package with new provisions meant to protect patients against unexpected medical bills. The Lower Health Care Costs Act, released ahead of the expected health committee markup next week, would create a benchmark for health insurer-provider payment disputes, prohibit out-of-network deductibles during emergencies, and limit patients’ out-of-pocket expenses for air ambulance transport.

Becker’s Hospital Review (6/19),  The Hill (6/19)

Health Insurance tax credits to expand in California

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Calif. governor aims to expand health insurance tax credits, impose penalty

California Gov. Gavin Newsom has proposed imposing a tax penalty on people who fail to enroll in health insurance, with the proceeds going toward tax credits for an estimated 850,000 Californians, including some whose incomes are too high for federal assistance. The proposal is being debated by state lawmakers as part of budget negotiations, which should be done by June 15.

California Healthline (6/3)

Drug Cost Relief for Senior (?)

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Senators working on bipartisan plan to cut seniors’ Medicare drug costs

Senators working on bipartisan plan to cut seniors' Medicare drug costs
Senate Finance Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, said he is working with Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., on a bipartisan plan to limit seniors’ out-of-pocket spending on prescription medications in Medicare. The senators are reportedly exploring drug pricing changes in Medicaid and Medicare Part D and Part B.

The Hill (5/8)