The Weekly Insight – April 24
This Week in Review
Last Week from Texas Insight
- Data: The 2015 Texas Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS): This article focuses on data describing the chronic disease burden in Texas. Chronic diseases and conditions are prolonged, preventable and present a significant burden in deaths, costs and disabilities. Nearly two-thirds of all deaths in Texas are due to chronic disease. These diseases and conditions cost the state billions in both direct (i.e., medical care) and indirect (i.e., lost productivity) costs.
- House and Senate Comparison for SB1 Including House Floor Amendments: HHSC: Review funding allotted to Health and Human Services Commission under SB1.
- House and Senate Comparison for SB1 Including House Floor Amendments: DFPS: Review funding allotted to the Department of Family and Protective Services under SB1.
- HHSC: Hearing on Reimbursement Methodology for Home and Community-Based Services and Texas Home Living Programs
- House and Senate Comparison for SB1 Including House Floor Amendments: DSHS: Review funding allotted to the Department of Health and Human Services under SB1.
Healthcare Policy News
- As Trump’s first 100 days approach, healthcare is taking a backseat to the looming government shut down. Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) has promised to focus on the spending bill to keep the government open past April 28, while White House aides push for healthcare to pass before the 100 days mark.
Trump has been optimistic about the GOP’s ability to pass the spending bill and work on healthcare. He has suggested there may be a vote on healthcare as early as next week, though he tempered his enthusiasm saying that there is “no particular rush.”
The current working replacement bill would leave the individual mandate and coverage of “essential health benefits” up to the states’ discretion. This would return us to pre-ACA era healthcare plans when insurers charged different prices according to health histories, and expensive high-risk pools served the chronically ill and those with “pre-existing” conditions. Critics of the proposal note that these measures won’t affect premiums like the GOP is touting, as many of these essential health benefits, like maternity care and mental health, make up less than 5 percent of premium costs.
As the GOP continues its repeal and replace efforts, and takes actions to weaken the ACA and the marketplace, insurers are taking note. This uncertainty has already caused multiple insurers to back out of the marketplace, leaving many places in the US with a “bare market.”
In Texas, as summer nears, health workers along the Texas border with Mexico fear a Zika Outbreak. The Rio Grande Valley has prime conditions for mosquito breeding, and UT’s School of Public Health regional dean warns that the outbreak will hit the poorest people the worst.