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10 Million Gained Coverage Under Obamacare - Health Care Edge

10 Million Gained Coverage Under Obamacare 

By Sophie Novack and Sam Baker

 

COVERAGE GAINS: Roughly 10.3 million previously uninsured people got covered during Obamacare's first open-enrollment period, according to an HHS study published in the New England Journal of Medicine. The study says the percentage of uninsured Americans fell by more than 5 percentage points during the six-month open enrollment window, with particularly large gains among the populations the administration targeted most heavily for Obamacare enrollment — Latinos, African-Americans and young adults. And, unsurprisingly, the reductions were bigger in states that accepted the Medicaid expansion.

Top Health Care News

10.3 MILLION: The total could range from 7.3 to 17.2 million depending on how the data are interpreted. (Paige Winfield Cunnigham, Politico)

834-EVER: Remember 834s, the transmissions from HealthCare.gov to insurance companies that were so problematic during open enrollment? Well, HealthCare.gov has processed nearly 1 millon of them since open enrollment ended. That's a lot — although people can still sign up because of certain life events, the pace of submissions is surprisingly brisk. But an industry official estimates less than half of those are new sign-ups. (Charles Ornstein, ProPublica)

 

MLR UPDATE: Consumers have saved a total of $9 billion through Obamacare's medical loss ratio provisions, also known as the "80/20 rule," according to HHS' latest update. The MLR requires insurers to spend 80 percent of their premium revenues on medical costs, capping their profit and overhead at 20 percent. If they miss that mark, they must pay a rebate to their customers. The $9 billion total is cumulative from 2011 and includes rebates as well as the effects of insurers lowering their premiums to avoid paying rebates. (Jeffrey Young, Huffington Post)

Halbig Ruling

THE RED AND BLUE STATES OF HEALTH CARE: The recent court ruling could make the health care divide between Democratic and Republican states even larger. (Margot Sanger-Katz, New York Times)

COURT RULING RISKS LOSS OF COVERAGE: The loss of subsidies could lead many of the 4.5 million people who were found eligible for subsidized insurance through the federal exchange to drop their new coverage. (Abby Goodnough, New York Times)

HOW WILL COURT DECISIONS ON SUBSIDIES AFFECT MIDTERM ELECTIONS?: Not very much, strategists on both sides say. (Mary Agnes Carey and Julie Rovner, Kaiser Health News)

 

Drugs

STACKS ON STACKS ON SOVALDI:Sales of Sovaldi, the hepatitis C drug that has come under fire for its high price tag, did nearly $3.5 billion in sales just in the second quarter of this year. That might be an all-time record for the pharmaceutical industry, and it sent Gilead Sciences, which manufactures the drug, to net income of more than $3 billion — compared with less than $800 million a year ago. Insurers, naturally, seized on the news to argue that Gilead could afford to lower Sovaldi's price. (Russ Britt, MarketWatch)

WHO GETS TREATED?: The high price of Sovaldi makes doctors choose which patients get access to the breakthrough treatment. (Simeon Bennett and Robert Langreth, Bloomberg Businessweek)

Administration

BURWELL PICKS FORMER WAL-MART HEAD FOR HHS POST: Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell is appointing Leslie Dach, a former colleague who was previously executive vice president of corporate affairs for Wal-Mart, to act as her senior counselor at the agency. (Louise Radnofsky, Wall Street Journal)

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HEAD OF CDC LAB RESIGNS OVER ANTHRAX SCARE: Michael Farrell, head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention lab that potentially exposed workers to live anthrax last month, submitted his resignation Tuesday. (Alison Young, USA Today)

Medicaid

LAWSUIT FILED AGAINST TENNESSEE OVER MEDICAID DELAYS: Changes to the state's Medicaid program, TennCare, following the implementation of the Affordable Care Act have resulted in thousands of individuals being blocked from coverage they are entitled to, according to a lawsuit filed Wednesday in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Tennessee in Nashville. Since the the fall, Tennessee has eliminated in-person assistance and its own enrollment system, becoming the only state to rely exclusively on HealthCare.gov for Medicaid eligibility determinations. (Sophie Novack, National Journal)

Happening Today

House Ways and Means Committee hearing on the future of Medicare Advantage plans and the health care law's impact on the program at 10:00 a.m.

House Rules Committee markup of a resolution authorizing Speaker Boehner's lawsuit of Obama over delays to the employer mandate, with the full House expected to vote on the measure next week, ahead of the August recess.

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Don't Miss Today's Top Stories

Health Care Edge is one of my top resources."

Meghan, Associate Specialist

Great news in short form along with much needed humor."

Patrick, President of private healthcare consulting firm

Informative and help[s] me stay on track. "

Director of Scientific Affairs, Non-profit medicial society

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