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Health Care Edge

Risk Corridors Out, Doc Fix In - Health Care Edge: Brought to you by Coalition for Medicare Choices

February 6, 2014

Risk Corridors Out, Doc Fix In

By Sam Baker, Sophie Novack and Clara Ritger

TODAY IN ONE PARAGRAPH: House Republicans are giving up on the idea of trying to attach a repeal of Obamacare's risk corridors to a bill raising the debt ceiling, after realizing they couldn't muster the necessary 218 votes to pass such a combination. Smart health care and political operatives differ on whether this is the end of risk corridors as a controversy, but don't expect Sen. Marco Rubio, who has led the charge on this, to let the issue fade away just yet. So what's next for GOP debt-ceiling demands? It could be another temporary "doc fix" -- not exactly a huge ask, since Congress always passes a temporary patch when needed -- but also not a good sign for the prospects of a permanent deal.

 

Top Health Care News

HOUSE GOP CONSIDERING TYING DEBT CEILING TO A NINE MONTH 'DOC FIX.' Republicans are scrambling to find a package that would get enough Democratic support to pass to the Senate. (Jake Sherman, Politico)

STUDY: OBAMACARE IS CHEAPER THAN EMPLOYER-BACKED PLANS. A top consulting firm ran the numbers and found comparable health plans are 20 percent cheaper on the exchanges. (Clara Ritger, National Journal)

INSURERS FACE NEW PRESSURE OVER LIMITED DOCTOR CHOICE. Regulators, lawmakers look for ways to increase the number of providers. (Anna Wilde Mathews and Christopher Weaver, Wall Street Journal)

More On Risk Corridors

HOUSE GOP ABANDONS TYING DEBT CEILING TO REPEAL OF RISK CORRIDORS. A number of Republicans have anticipated that the House will end up voting on a clean debt-ceiling increase. (Elahe Izadi, National Journal)

INSIDE THE HOUSE HEARING ON RISK CORRIDORS. House Republicans continue to maintain that the ACA provision is a bailout for insurance companies, despite the fact that CBO estimated it would save the government $8 billion. (Julie Appleby and Mary Agnes Carey, Kaiser Health News)

CBO Fallout

THE EXPLOSIVE CBO REPORT ON OBAMACARE WASN'T AS EXPLOSIVE AS IT SEEMED. CBO projected that employees would be encouraged to leave the workforce entirely, or shift to part-time work, for two reasons. (Sam Stein and Jeffrey Young, Huffington Post)

OBAMACARE, JOBS AND 'WHAT MATTERS POLITICALLY.' Looking at the assumptions of the CBO report in reverse. (Jonathan Chait, New York Magazine)

YES, OBAMACARE WILL PROBABLY DOWNSIZE THE WORKFORCE. ECONOMISTS EXPLAIN WHY. Before the Affordable Care Act, buying health insurance on the exchange was hard, sometimes impossible. People placed a value on their employer doing it for them. (Sarah Kliff, Washington Post)

HOUSE DEMOCRATS AND REPUBLICANS SPAR AT CBO OBAMACARE REPORT HEARING. House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan called Obamacare a poverty trap. (Erik Wasson, The Hill)

Implementation

STUDY: OBAMACARE ACCOUNTS FOR ONE MILLION MEDICAID SIGN-UPS. A health care consulting firm estimates that the health law is directly responsible for as many as 1.8 million new Medicaid enrollees. (Clara Ritger, National Journal)

OBAMACARE ENROLLEES TRENDING YOUNGER, HUMANA CEO SAYS. If true, the outlook is good for the health law, which needs enough young and healthy signed up to balance out the costs. (Bruce Japsen, Forbes)

States

MEDICAID EXPANSION JUST A FIRST STEP TO IMPROVED HEALTH IN WEST VIRGINIA. "Some advocates for the poor are thrilled, but they caution that insurance coverage alone won't overcome the deeply rooted health problems of many poor West Virginians who live in isolation and poverty." (Ankita Rao, Kaiser Health News/USA Today)

WASHINGTON STATE OFFICIALS PUSH FOR HEALTH CARE PRICING TRANSPARENCY. Gov. Jay Inslee and some state lawmakers want to create a database of hundreds of procedures including information on cost at different facilities and quality of medical providers. (Lisa Stiffler, Seattle Times/Kaiser Health News)

Pharmacies

WHY CVS IS READY TO LOSE BILLIONS AND STOP SELLING CIGARETTES. The retailer's CEO told media outlets selling tobacco products was inconsistent with the CVS identity as a health company. (Dustin Volz and Sophie Novack, National Journal)

CVS DOESN'T NEED TOBACCO FOR ITS REVENUES: IT HAS OBAMACARE. The health law is one of CVS's best chances to grow its business. Smokers are the opposite of that business opportunity. (Heidi Moore, The Guardian)

USING PRESCRIBER CHECK-UP: A QUICK GUIDE. Until recently, there was no way for members of the public to assess whether doctors prescribe medications responsibly or to compare their drug choices with those of their peers. (Charles Ornstein, ProPublica)

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