The CHIP Program Is Beloved. Why Is Its Funding in Danger?

From New York Times:  Laquita Gardner, a sales manager at a furniture rental store here, was happy to get a raise recently except for one problem. It lifted her income just enough to disqualify her and her two young sons from Medicaid, the free health insurance program for the poor.
She was relieved to find another option was available for the boys: the Children’s Health Insurance Program, known as CHIP, that covers nearly nine million children whose parents earn too much for Medicaid, but not enough to afford other coverage.
But CHIP, a program that has had unusually strong bipartisan support since it was created in 1997, is now in limbo — an unexpected victim of the partisan rancor that has stymied legislative action in Washington this year. Its federal funds ran out on Sept. 30, and Congress has not agreed on a plan to renew the roughly $14 billion a year it spends on the program.
“I’m kind of shocked, because this is something for kids,” Ms. Gardner said Thursday as her 7-year-old, Alexander, braced for a flu shot at a bright, busy neighborhood clinic run by the Nemours Children’s Health System. Ms. Gardner pays $25 a month for her sons’ […]

By |December 7th, 2017|Industry News, Medicare/Medicaid, National News|Comments Off on The CHIP Program Is Beloved. Why Is Its Funding in Danger?

Top House Dem calls for probe into CVS-Aetna merger

A top House Democrat is calling for a hearing to examine the merger between CVS and Aetna.

In a letter to House Energy and Commerce Committee chairman Greg Walden (R-Ore.), the committee’s ranking member Frank Pallone Jr. (D-N.J.) asked for a hearing on the merger as soon as possible.

“As the business of healthcare continues to morph, it is critical that Congress closely examine the changing relationships among healthcare entities and the impact these changing relationships have on the way healthcare is delivered in this country,” Pallone wrote.

If approved, the $69 billion merger of the nation’s largest pharmacy and third-largest health insurer could have major implications for the health-care industry.

The companies are arguing that when merged, they will be able to improve health outcomes and reduce costs by integrating the pharmacy and insurer. They are promising significant changes to the business of health-care delivery.

There has been an increasing trend of insurers wanting to partner with pharmacy benefit managers, as seen by UnitedHealth’s purchase of OptumRx.

Amazon’s rumored interest in entering into the pharmaceutical supply industry has loomed as a potential motivator of the merger, which Pallone noted in his request.

“Increasingly, health systems are offering health insurance and insurers are buying or partnering with health care providers,” […]

By |December 7th, 2017|Industry News, National News|Comments Off on Top House Dem calls for probe into CVS-Aetna merger

3.6 million people signed up for ObamaCare plans in one month

More than 3.6 million people have signed up for ObamaCare plans during the first month of open enrollment, according to new numbers released Wednesday by the Trump administration.

In week five of open enrollment, which spanned from Nov. 26 through Dec. 2, 823,000 people signed up for plans, including 271,200 new customers.

That’s up from week four of enrollment, when 504,000 people signed up and week 3 when just under 800,000 people signed up.People are still enrolling for plans at a faster rate than last year. This time last year, 2.9 million people had signed up for plans.  But because open enrollment is only half as long as it was last year, the number of total people who sign up could fall short of previous years.

Open enrollment ends Dec. 15.

The strong numbers so far come despite cuts the Trump administration made to ObamaCare’s advertising and outreach budget.

The initial surge has also put the administration, which has long claimed the health-care law is failing, in a difficult spot.

But if the final enrollment numbers are significantly lower than in the past, which many analysts expect, it could bolster the GOP’s argument that ObamaCare is failing and needs to be repealed.

From The Hill

By |December 7th, 2017|Health Reform, National News|Comments Off on 3.6 million people signed up for ObamaCare plans in one month

 

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