The Weekly Insight – April 24

24th Apr 2017

This Week in Review

Last Week from Texas Insight

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.