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Efforts to repeal and replace Obamacare still moving forward after Senate meets with Trump

Earlier this week, the media quickly declared that congressional efforts to repeal and replace Obamacare had collapsed. We've previously heard reports declaring repeal efforts dead back in March when Speaker Paul Ryan found he didn’t yet have the votes to pass a bill.  Yet Ryan eventually brought enough Republicans together. I remain optimistic that Republicans will eventually come together and finally deliver on their promise to repeal and replace Obamacare.  That’s because I’ve always thought it would be impossible for Republicans to ignore the severe upheaval happening in individual health insurance markets across the country, all a result of Obamacare.  The...

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Insurance choices dwindling in counties across America

Yesterday I noted news released this week from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) that shows only half the insurers that offered coverage on Obamacare exchanges in 2016 plan to participate in 2018.  That's a dramatic drop in choice for consumers in just two short years. CMS also released an updated map this week depicting the number of health insurer carrier choices available in each county.  The yellow portions in the map below represents the 1,334 counties in America—42.47 percent of all counties—in which people have only one carrier option, meaning they they have no choice. For some counties, the problem...

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Number of Insurers Offering Coverage through Obamacare Exchanges Drops in Half

On Monday the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced that only 141 health insurers filed applications to offer health plans through the federal Obamacare exchanges in 2018.  As the graph below shows, that's half as many insurers submitting applications as in 2016. Here's how Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price explained the depth of the problem: The situation has never been more dire. Americans are continuing to lose what health coverage they have and are forced to choose from fewer options or pay the IRS for the right to go without. This further limits their access to the doctors...

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7 Women, $7 Million: MN’s Latest Medicaid Fraud

An alleged ringleader and her six recruits have been charged with supposedly bamboozling $7.7 million from Medicaid. According to the Star Tribune, the Minnesota Attorney General’s office charged seven women for allegedly stealing the money while running personal care attendant (PCA) agencies in Hennepin County. The PCA program is meant to empower disabled Minnesotans to receive care at home and stay out of institutions by hiring help. It is disheartening a group of women would abuse this wonderful program and undermine personal care assistance....

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Reporters ignore counterpoints to Dayton’s claims about funding losses from GOP health care bills

Gov. Mark Dayton hosted a news conference with Rep. Keith Ellison and several other DFL state legislators on Wednesday to highlight the results of a new state analysis on how the Senate health care bill would impact Minnesotans on Medicaid. As expected, the Dayton administration’s analysis offered a sharp critique of the Senate Republican’s health care bill.  The analysis projects Minnesota would lose $2 billion in federal funding in the first 18 months, $10.4 billion over five years, and $31 billion over ten years.  In 2025, a majority of this spending cut, according to the analysis, will come from spending on...

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Give states more revenue options to fund insurance market stabilization programs

With individual health insurance markets melting down across the country, both the House and Senate health care bills include funding to states to help stabilize their insurance markets.  This funding would primarily go to support programs like high risk pools or reinsurance to cover the cost of people with expensive health conditions, which, in turn, would keep premiums down for everyone else. To continue to receive funding, both the House and the Senate bills require states to start matching a percentage of federal funding.  State’s may also find they need to kick more money in to keep markets stable and affordable....

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Legislature’s Special Session Wrap-Up: Estate Tax, Healthcare & More

As I mentioned in my previous post, the Legislature ended its special session early Friday morning. Here's the rest of what was decided. Minnesotans On the Move How to keep Minnesotans from exiting the state for good, or severing all financial ties with the state after establishing residency elsewhere? Estate tax: The death tax was not repealed but the threshold will be gradually increased from the current $1.8 million to $3 million by 2020. The federal level is $5.49 million per person. Dayton's Department of Revenue has gained a reputation for being aggressive with Minnesotans who declare residency elsewhere (the state tries to claw them...

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CBO score of House GOP healthcare bill wrong on the impact of state waivers

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) released their much-anticipated fiscal analysis of the House bill to repeal and replace Obamacare yesterday.  The two headline data points show that the bill would leave 23 million more Americans without health insurance and reduce the budget deficit by $119 billion over ten years. Predictably, supporters of the bill received the CBO analysis with a mountain of skepticism.   CBO projections on insurance exchange enrollment have been wildly off target, at one point projecting 25 million people would be covered by Obamacare exchanges in 2017 compared to the 12.2 million people that actually enrolled. A critique you likely...

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After addressing instability in the health insurance market, lawmakers try to finalize HHS omnibus bill

Saving the individual health insurance market from imploding under the weight of Obamacare regulations topped the Legislature’s list of to-dos this year.  In January, a bipartisan bill passed to provide immediate premium relief to help people afford this year’s 50 to 67 percent premium hikes.  In April, Republican legislators passed a new state reinsurance program to stabilize the market for 2018 and 2019.  The program essentially reintroduces the federal reinsurance program that ended last year.  Despite some misgivings, Gov. Mark Dayton allowed the legislation to become law without his signature because he feared vetoing it might destabilize the market further. Reinsurance...

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$1 Trillion in Obamacare Taxes Eliminated by House Action

The elusive effort to repeal and replace Obamacare still has a long way to go in the Senate. In the meantime, the Washington spin cycle will be operating on high. But American Experiment's Peter Nelson reminds us that Congress really has no choice but to act swiftly in order to avert a market meltdown. Getting this bill passed was a critical first step in saving health coverage for the millions of Americans who are experiencing the collapse of the individual health insurance market under the weight of Obamacare’s regulations. Several state insurance markets are in the throes of a death spiral—a situation where...

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