The Weekly Insight – May 30

30th May 2017

This Week in Review

Last Week from Texas Insight

Health Policy News

  • After passing the Texas Senate on Friday, legislation to criminalize a common second trimester procedure has been sent to Gov. Abbott’s desk. The bill includes regulations for disposal of all fetal remains, no matter the medical cause, while also banning dilation and evacuation. The method is the safest way to complete the procedure, according to the medical community, and reproductive rights groups argue that this change will subject women to unnecessary medical procedures.
  • Congress has faced some turbulence following the release of the CBO score of the AHCA. The Congressional Budget Office predicts that 23 million Americans would lose health insurance under the AHCA, as compared to the current law, ACA. Cost of insurance could rise more than 9-fold for some older populations with low income. And although average premiums would fall, they would sharply increase for our nation’s sick and poor.

  • Internal division among Senate Republicans is threatening their ability to pass the AHCA altogether. Majority leader, Senator Mitch McConnell, acknowledged shortly after Trump took office that repealing the ACA would be easy, and its replacement would be difficult. McConnell can now only afford to lose two Republicans, and yet at least three senators are diametrically opposed to the views of three others. McConnell’s recent public comments point to an unsure future; he has refused to make any promises about its passage.

  • Among the key issues in dispute are the “state waivers,” which would allow states to waive certain coverage regulations for insurers, including the mandate that they provide coverage for individuals with “pre-existing conditions.” The CBO found that with these waivers, people with pre-existing conditions would face enormous premiums, and many people with these conditions would be unable to afford coverage. A few Republican senators are outright opposed to removing these regulations.

  • The AHCA faces its biggest disapproval rate yet. Three separate polls show huge rates of disapproval for the bill. One poll found that just 20 percent of voters would be “more likely to vote for a senator or member of the House who supported the current version of the bill.” The Senate Republicans will be drafting their health bill during the recess.

  • Trump’s proposed budget has raised eyebrows over it’s exorbitant proposed cuts to fundamental social programs like Medicaid, with some members of Congress calling it “dead on arrival.Some of the backlash has also pointed to an assault on services benefiting women, suggesting some form of gender-bias. The New York Times published an analysis of these claims.