This week’s reads don’t disappoint as they cover everything from states skirting ACA rules and new taxes on health insurance, to another attempt at repeal and replace and the potential first-ever bicameral siblings to be born.
- Crossing party lines, all ex-CMS administrators announced their support of the NAHU-backed BENES Act, to require notices to individuals approaching Medicare eligibility on when and how they should enroll in coverage.
- Idaho released the details of their plan to skirt federal ACA regulations on health insurance. They would permit insurers to deny coverage for individuals with pre-existing conditions who didn’t have continuous coverage, charge more based on health status, age and geography, and implement annual caps.
- Oregon voters passed Measure 101 by a 61-38% margin on Tuesday. The ballot initiative imposes a 1.5% tax on health insurance premiums to help defray the cost of the state’s Medicaid expansion due to the decline in federal matching funds.
- Kentucky’s bid to impose work requirements on Medicaid beneficiaries is headed for the courts.
- The Health Care Cost Institute released a study finding that healthcare spending grew by 4.6% from 2015-2016 to reach an average of $5,407 per person, while utilization declined in some cases.
- A new GAO report finds that as many as 17,000 deceased Americans may have been automatically re-enrolled into marketplace coverage in 2015 due to CMS failing to check death records.
- Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) is not ready to give up on repealing the ACA just yet, but he still needs to cobble together at least 50 votes, which party leaders still say the math doesn’t add up.
- Democrats are expected to hold on to the West Virginia senate seat after Joe Manchin announced his decision to run for re-election, in a seat that would otherwise be a likely easy Republican pickup.
- Montana Democrat Jon Tester, arguably the safest of endangered Democratic senators, voted against reopening the government this week and may have jeopardized his reelection bid.
- Louisiana Senator John Kennedy may be the folksiest person in the Senate, according to this profile.
- Illinois Senator Tammy Duckworth is expected to become the first sitting U.S. senator to give birth. Her other daughter was born while Duckworth was a sitting House member in 2014, making the bicameral births an even more impressive feat for the lawmaker.
- Add this to the qualms about the ACA: Representative Pat Meehan (R-PA) blamed the stress from the ACA repeal votes for his alleged sexual harassment of an aide.
- Apple will begin allowing users to use their health app to download and view their medical records.
- A new study finds that stroke victims may have as much as 16 hours to save threatened brain tissue from lack of blood flow, a dramatic increase from the previously thought six-hour limit.
- President Trump’s hopes of facing off against Oprah in 2020 were dashed after the former talk show host said running for president wasn’t in her DNA.