The Weekly Insight – April 3

03rd Apr 2017

This Week in Review

Last Week from Texas Insight

  • The House Appropriations Committee met to hear invited testimony only for: HB1, Zerwas, General Appropriations Bill, and HB2, Zerwas, relating to making supplemental appropriations and giving direction and adjustment authority regarding appropriations. Read our report on the meeting minutes here.
  • We take another look at “Who Pays for Health Care in Texas” in Part II.  Here, our approach is to estimate very roughly what employers, public entities, providers and taxpayers pay for health care, though all these categories, it can be argued, do eventually collapse into one: taxpayers. Part 1 covered costs paid by employers and providers, while Part II explores what taxpayers (a.k.a individuals) and public entities pay for health care in Texas.

  • The Office of e-Health Coordination provides leadership to and acts as a single point of coordination for health information technology initiatives in the State of Texas. The office ensures that health information technology projects and programs are coordinated across the state’s health and human services agencies, facilitates coordination between the Texas and federal or multi-state projects, and provides assistance to local and regional health IT projects. Read our report on their most recent meeting and what it means for TX healthcare.

Other Healthcare Policy News

  • The GOP is dealing with the fallout since the failed attempt to repeal and replace the ACA. Trump takes to twitter calling the suggestion that repeal and replace efforts are waning “fake news.” This is in the same week that he singled out members of his own party, the Freedom Caucus, as hurting the Republican agenda and promising to “fight” them in the 2018 midterms. [The Hill]
  • While Trump admits that working with the Democrats on healthcare reform is now a possibility, Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) is adamant that a true conservative repeal and replace effort does not include democrats. [The Hill/Reuters]

  • This past Sunday at Mar-a-Lago, Trump hit the links with Rand Paul to talk healthcare and mend fences. Paul was a vocal critic of the AHCA. Trump tweeted before teeing off that anyone who thinks repeal and replace efforts are dead “does not know the love and strength in R party!” [The Washington Post]

  • Meanwhile, insurance companies on the ACA marketplace face an uncertain future. The GOP says the federal subsidies for low earners will continue through 2017, which helps 6 million Americans maintain coverage. Humana is already scheduled to depart the marketplace next year, and now Anthem is getting nervous. These insurer losses would leave Americans without options in areas of the U.S. where the marketplaces are thin. An Anthem departure alone will affect nearly 300 counties, which represents about a quarter a million people. [NYT]

  • In stark contrast to federal GOP repeal efforts, some states have resumed discussions on Medicaid expansions. Kansas’ state Senate joined their House last week, agreeing to an expansion of eligibility to about 150,000 more Kansans, but the bill was vetoed last Thursday by Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback. Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe is pushing his legislature to expand Medicaid for up to 400,000 VA residents, but Republican resistance makes it unlikely. Maine is putting the question of expansion to the people; a referendum is on the ballots in November. [NPR]

The Week Ahead

With the Senate passing SB1 and the House passing out of Committee the House Committee Substitute for SB1 all eyes will be on the House this week as they take their bill to the floor for passage.  The Conference Committee on the bill will be formed following House action.  It is the plan of Texas Insight to cover the following meetings occurring at HHSC this week: 

April 3, 2017

10:00 am — Austin

April 4, 2017

10:30 am — Austin

April 5, 2017

10:00 am — Austin