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Health Care Edge

Ryan Plan Redux - Health Care Edge

April 1, 2014

Ryan Plan Redux

By Sam Baker, Sophie Novack and Clara Ritger

THE ENTITLEMENTS FIGHT IS BACK: Rep. Paul Ryan is set to unveil his latest budget plan today, and it's expected to contain the same cuts to Medicare and Medicaid that Ryan has proposed in the past -- if not deeper ones. Ryan's plan would convert Medicaid funding into a block grant to the states and would partially privatize Medicare, giving seniors a subsidy to use for either private coverage or the traditional government-run program. Democrats will surely attack the plan as an assault on seniors and the poor. Meanwhile, with the Obamacare enrollment window officially closed, perhaps we'll begin to get a sense of how many people will be able to benefit from the special enrollment periods for people who were "in line" by midnight but unable to complete their applications.

 

Top Health Care News

LAST MINUTE SURGE CAUSES ACA SITE PROBLEMS: The federal enrollment site stopped accepting new applicants because of high site traffic Monday afternoon, but HHS says the issue has been resolved. (Robert Pear, New York Times)

DOCTORS ARE TIRED OF BEING 'FIXED' BY CONGRESS: Congress got close to replacing Medicare's payment formula, but fell back on yet another short-term patch. (Clara Ritger, National Journal)

HOW TO JUDGE OBAMACARE: A few metrics to use to evaluate the law's success or failure. (Charles Ornstein, ProPublica)

Enrollment

ON DAY OF ENROLLMENT DEADLINE, ACA SUPPORT HITS HIGH: A new ABC News/Washington Post poll finds that 49 percent of Americans support the health care law, while 48 percent are opposed. The support is the highest on record since Aug. 2009. Thirty-six percent of conservatives support the law, up from 17 percent in the fall. (Gary Langer, ABC News)

  • Perceptions of the health care law are trending more favorable, but today's poll is a bit of an outlier. (Huffington Post)

  • Five things polling tells us about Obamacare. (Paul Steinhauser, CNN)

HHS SECRETARY SAYS 80-90 PERCENT OF ACA ENROLLEES HAVE PAID PREMIUMS: "What we know from insurance companies ... tell(s) us that, for their initial customers, it's somewhere between 80, 85, some say as high as 90 percent, have paid so far," Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said Monday. The estimate is consistent with reports from individual insurers. (Aaron Blake, Washington Post)

OBAMACARE COVERS ESTIMATED 9.5 MILLION PREVIOUSLY UNINSURED INDIVIDUALS: A series of surveys, reports, and interviews give insight into the total number of individuals that are newly insured through the law, via the insurance exchanges, off-exchange enrollment, Medicaid enrollment, and coverage under parents' plans. A yet-unpublished RAND survey shared with the Los Angeles Times found that about one-third of exchange sign-ups were previously uninsured, at least 4.5 million previously uninsured adults have enrolled in Medicaid, about 9 million--most of whom were previously insured--have bought plans directly from insurers, and fewer than one million who had plans last year are currently uninsured due to plan cancellations as a result of the ACA. (Noam Levey, Los Angeles Times)

  • That number is actually below the February Congressional Budget Office target that estimated 13 million previously uninsured individuals would gain coverage in 2014, but Medicaid enrollment continues for the full year. (Jason Millman, Washington Post)

OBAMA SEES HEALTH-CARE SIGN-UPS NEARING 7 MILLION: In an interview with CBS that aired Monday night, the president said despite website woes, they'd get close to the original CBO enrollment projection. (Jared A. Favole, Wall Street Journal)

JOE BIDEN TALKS OBAMACARE, SKIN CARE ON RACHAEL RAY: "Mr. Biden became the latest top administration official to subject himself to awkward ribbing in exchange for a chance to pitch the health law, telling Ms. Ray about his skincare regime." (Louise Radnofsky, Jared E. Favole and Colleen McCain Nelson, Wall Street Journal)

THE LONGEST WAIT: MARYLAND RESIDENTS WAIT IN LINE FOR LAST-DITCH OBAMACARE: The state's exchange has been a failure from the beginning, and the flood of last-minute hopefuls left health officials telling them to come back later. (Maggie Fox, NBC News)

Congress

BOEHNER ON OBAMACARE: 'HOUSE REPUBLICANS WILL CONTINUE TO WORK TO REPEAL THIS LAW.' "The House is scheduled to vote this week on a proposal that would repeal the law's definition of 'full-time employee' as anyone who works 30 hours or more."(Ed O'Keefe, Washington Post)

Courts

SCOTUS REJECTS CONTRACEPTION SUITS: The Supreme Court yesterday said it would not bypass a federal appeals court to hear two challenges to Obamacare's contraception mandate. These cases, unlike the ones the court heard last week, were filed by religious-affiliated employers. The Supreme Court declined to hear an expedited appeal that would have bypassed an appeals court hearing set for next month. (Lyle Deniston, SCOTUSBlog)

SUPREME COURT TO HEAR APPEAL OF GENERIC DRUG CASE: The Court will review the case of Teva Pharmaceutical Industries, which is trying to win back protection for its M.S. drug that accounts for 20 percent of its revenue and half its profit. (Andrew Pollack, New York Times)

JUDGE WON'T BLOCK RULES ON ABORTION DRUG IN ARIZONA: "The rules, which were approved by the Arizona Legislature in 2012 and will take effect on Tuesday, restrict the use of a medication to induce abortions during the early stages of pregnancy to the first seven weeks." (John Schwartz, New York Times)

Doctors

A GROWING NUMBER OF PRIMARY-CARE DOCTORS BURNING OUT. HOW DOES THIS AFFECT PATIENTS? New burdens on primary-care doctors — including electronic health records — pose additional challenges. (Roni Caryn Rabin and Kaiser Health News, Washington Post)

HOW DOCTORS RATE PATIENTS: "Patient activation" is a measure of how involved you are in your care, and is important in improving health outcomes. (Laura Landro, Wall Street Journal)

Happening Today

HOUSE ENERGY AND COMMERCE HEARING ON GENERIC DRUG LABELS: The FDA's proposed changes to generic drug labeling have been the subject of much debate among prescription drug makers. The committee will hear FDA and stakeholder testimony at 3:00 p.m.

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