The Weekly Insight – April 17
This Week in Review
Last Week from Texas Insight
- House of Representatives Committee Substitute for SB1 Adopted Floor Amendments Article II
- Review the riders in SB1 in both the Senate and House versions of the bill. This document has not been updated by floor action last Thursday in the House of Representatives but will be updated as amendments are clarified.
- There are several sources of data on health coverage status in Texas. As we know, the proportion of Texans who lack health insurance is higher than that of any other state. Health insurance provides access to medical care for low- and middle-income Texans and prevents financial catastrophe for the millions of Texans with chronic diseases who must receive regular care. In order to develop cost-effective solutions to provide access and care to the populations without insurance, it’s helpful to mine as much as possible from publicly-available data sources on health coverage status.
- Early Childhood Intervention Advisory Council: Health and Human Services
- Texas House of Representatives Committee on Public Health
- HHSC: Hearing on Various Rates Including Therapy Rates
Healthcare Policy News
- Tax day is tomorrow, which means the fines for not having health insurance are due as well. Trump issued an executive order in February that relaxed rules set under the Obama administration – the IRS is no longer required to screen returns for a completed answer on health insurance in an effort to “reduce the burden” of the ACA on federal agencies, and it’s been suggested before that Trump’s administration might not even enforce the tax penalty of the individual mandate at all.
The Trump administration issued their final draft of a new rule creating restrictions on the Affordable Care Act’s insurance marketplace, in an effort to stabilize the markets. There will soon be a shorter enrollment window, more stringent screening of people signing up outside open periods, and additional requirement for some people to show proof of prior insurance coverage. Insurers are generally supportive of the new rule, but it could have potentially harmful effects for consumers.
As the GOP considers, and re-considers, their repeal and replace efforts, the term “pre-existing conditions” is getting thrown into the mix. Removing protections for the pre-existing conditions from the proposed bill would allow states to make up their own mind, and could look a lot like what we had pre-ACA.
Trump took to twitter early last week to put the spotlight back onto healthcare, this time threatening to withhold federal subsidies for the insurance plans of almost 7 million low-income Americans, unless Democrats come to the table on repeal and replace efforts. Democrats have not seem affected by this tactic, though some Dems are quick to call it “blackmail.”
Trump signed a bill on Thursday, removing an Obama-era rule that prevented states from defunding healthcare providers for political reasons, which many Democrats see as a thinly veiled effort to defund Planned Parenthood.
- In Texas, the House and the Senate still can’t agree on the budget.