Tag Archives: Affordable Care Act (ACA)

Be Careful What You Ask For: The FCA Implications of DOJ’s New ACA Stance

As many industry observers know, the Department of Justice (DOJ) recently filed an appellate brief arguing that the Affordable Care Act (ACA) should be struck down in its entirety following Congress’ 2017 decision to eliminate the financial penalty assessed when individuals fail to obtain health insurance. On its face, the case in question—Texas v. United … Continue Reading

Congressional Committees Continue Focus on Prescription Drugs, Insurance Coverage Policy

Recent Congressional hearings and markups have concentrated on prescription drug pricing, insurance access, and other health topics.  For instance, last week the House Ways and Means Committee unanimously approved H.R. 2113, the Prescription Drug Sunshine, Transparency, Accountability and Reporting Act of 2019 (STAR Act).   The legislation would, among other things: Require drug manufacturers to report their … Continue Reading

CMS Proposes Federal Funding Methodology for ACA Basic Health Program for 2019-2020

CMS has published a proposed rule setting forth its methodology for determining federal payment amounts to states that elect to establish a Basic Health Program (BHP) under the Affordable Care Act (ACA).  Through the BHP, states may offer health benefits to low-income individuals otherwise eligible to purchase coverage through an Affordable Insurance Exchange/Marketplace.  CMS will accept comments … Continue Reading

Trump Administration Calls for Medicare/Medicaid Cuts, Program Reforms in FY 2020 Budget Proposal

The Trump Administration’s proposed fiscal year (FY) 2020 budget includes extensive health policy provisions – as evidenced by the 162-page Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) “Budget in Brief.”  This summary focuses on the major Medicare and Medicaid proposals most directly impacting providers and suppliers; note that we discuss the Administration’s proposed prescription drug … Continue Reading

CMS Seeks Input on How to Promote the Sale of Individual Health Insurance Coverage Across State Lines

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has requested public comments on ways to remove barriers to the sale of health insurance coverage across state lines in order to expand consumer choice.  In particular, CMS is interested in how states can utilize Section 1333 of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), which authorizes two or … Continue Reading

Congressional Committees Focus on ACA and Other Health Policy Issues

Federal health policy is an early focus for Congressional committees.  In addition to several hearings held in January, Congressional hearings in February have concentrated on the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and primary care, including the following: A House Energy and Commerce Committee hearing on the Texas v. United States court case challenging the constitutionality of … Continue Reading

Trump Administration Finalizes Rule Expanding Availability of Short-Term, Limited Duration Health Insurance

The Departments of Treasury, Labor, and Health and Human Services have issued a final rule that expands the availability of short-term, limited duration insurance policies that are exempt from Affordable Care Act (ACA) qualified health plan standards (e.g., the requirement to provide essential health benefits, prohibition on preexisting condition exclusions, lifetime and annual dollar limits, … Continue Reading

CMS Adopts 2019 ACA Health Plan Policies

CMS has released its final rule updating policies applying to qualified health plans (QHPs) offered on Affordable Care Act (ACA) Exchanges for 2019.  In the final rule, CMS stresses its goal of providing states greater flexibility and control over their insurance markets, particularly in the areas of: selection of essential health benefits benchmark plans; the … Continue Reading

Trump Administration Proposes Rules to Expand Short-Term, Limited Duration Insurance Plans

The Trump Administration has issued a potentially highly-significant proposed rule intended to expand the availability of short-term, limited duration insurance policies that are exempt from Affordable Care Act (ACA) qualified health plan standards.  Under the proposed rule, issued by the Departments of Treasury, Labor, and Health and Human Services (the “Departments”), the maximum duration of … Continue Reading

Trump Administration’s Proposed FY 2019 Budget Targets Medicare, Medicaid for Savings, Seeks (Again) to Repeal/Replace ACA

The Trump Administration has released its fiscal year (FY) 2019 budget proposal, which includes extensive health policy provisions. While most of the President’s policy proposals for Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) programs would require Congressional approval, others are characterized as administrative proposals that presumably would not involve Congress.… Continue Reading

Stopgap Government Funding Law Includes Reprieve from ACA Medical Device, Insurance Taxes, Extends CHIP Funding

In addition to keeping the federal government operating through February 8, 2018, the newly-enacted Continuing Appropriations Act provides temporary relief from three health-related taxes imposed by the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and funds the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) through fiscal year 2023. With regard to the ACA taxes, the Continuing Appropriations Act: Imposes a … Continue Reading

GOP Tax Bill Eliminates ACA Individual Insurance Mandate Penalty

While previous broad Republican efforts to dismantle the Affordable Care Act (ACA) have failed, the GOP tax bill cleared by Congress today has succeeded in effectively repealing the ACA’s individual health insurance mandate.  By way of background, the ACA established a penalty for failure to maintain health insurance coverage that provides at least minimum essential … Continue Reading

Trump Administration Plan to Cut Off CSR Payments Withstands First Court Review

A Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) decision to discontinue ACA cost-sharing reduction (CSR) payments to insurers offering policies through ACA exchanges has cleared its first legal hurdle, with a U.S. district court declining to block the Administration’s action on an emergency basis. On October 12, 2017, the Trump Administration declared it was “immediately” … Continue Reading

Trump Executive Order Calls for “Healthcare Choice and Competition”

As legislative efforts to replace or reform the Affordable Care Act (ACA) sputter, President Trump has issued an executive order seeking to expand affordable health insurance choices, “to the extent consistent with law.” While the executive order itself does not modify current ACA statutory or regulatory requirements, it signals the Administration’s intent to: Facilitate the … Continue Reading

Interim Final Rules Expand Contraceptive Coverage Exemption Based on Religious/Moral Beliefs

The Trump Administration has issued interim final rules to make it easier for employers and health insurance plans to qualify for an exemption from ACA rules mandating coverage of contraceptive services without cost sharing on the basis of religious or moral objections. The extent to which group health plans must cover contraceptive services in cases … Continue Reading

Senate GOP Abandons Last-Ditch ACA Repeal/Replace Legislation in Face of Opposition

The latest Republican Congressional attempt to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA) has foundered, as three Republican senators announced they will join Democratic senators in opposing the “Graham-Cassidy” repeal plan. Very broadly, Graham-Cassidy would, among other things: Eliminate the penalties and mandates that individuals buy insurance and certain employers offer insurance; Replace insurance … Continue Reading

Senate HELP Committee to Examine Ways to Stabilize Individual Health Insurance Markets

The Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions is holding a series of hearings in September 2017 to focus on “actions Congress should take to stabilize and strengthen the individual health insurance markets.” Specifically, a September 6 hearing will feature five state insurance commissioners, and second hearing on September 7 will include testimony from … Continue Reading

As ACA Repeal/Replace Debate Drags On, Trump Seeks Advice on How to Make Improvements to Health Care Markets

In a tacit acknowledgement of the hurdles ahead for enactment of Affordable Care Act (ACA) repeal/replace legislation, the Trump Administration is soliciting suggestion for changes that could be made within the current legal framework to improve health insurance markets and meet Administration reform goals. In particular, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is … Continue Reading

President Trump’s Proposed FY 2018 Budget Spares Medicare, But Calls for Deep Medicaid Cuts & FDA User Fee Hikes

President Trump has released his FY 2018 budget proposal, which the Administration dubs “A New Foundation for American Greatness.”  The proposed budget – which received a generally chilly reception on Capitol Hill – offers a mixed bag for the health care industry.  On the one hand, a document summarizing the Department of Health and Human … Continue Reading

Rose Garden Ceremony Notwithstanding, Finish Line Not in Sight for ACA Repeal Legislation

Although President Trump and House Republican leaders held a White House Rose Garden ceremony to celebrate House passage of legislation to partially repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA), the prospects for actual enactment of the bill into law are highly uncertain. The American Health Care Act of 2017 (HR 1628), approved by the House May … Continue Reading

CMS Issues Final Rule to Stabilize ACA Insurance Markets, While Emphasizing Marketplace Woes

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services has published a final rule intended to help improve the risk pool and stabilize the Affordable Care Act (ACA) Insurance Exchanges for 2018 – even as CMS contends that consumers “have faced double-digit premium increases, fewer plans to choose from, and a market that continues to be threatened … Continue Reading

House Republican Leaders Tout “Progress” on ACA Repeal/Replace Efforts Before Congressional Recess

The House of Representatives has adjourned for a two-week recess without a full House vote on the Republican party’s signature legislation — the American Health Care Act (AHCA) — to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Since Republican leaders pulled the AHCA from House consideration on March 24, 2017 due to insufficient support, … Continue Reading
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