California Healthline Daily Edition

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

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Preliminary Filings From Insurers Give Hint Of Things To Come For ACA Marketplaces

As deadlines loom for announcing 2018 plans, all eyes are on which insurers will stay in the exchanges. But, with the fate of subsidies still up in the air and possibly tied to the spending bill, the future is just as uncertain for the companies themselves.

The Wall Street Journal: Insurers Offer Early Sign Of ACA Exchange Plans For 2018
Anthem Inc. made preliminary filings indicating it will offer plans on the Affordable Care Act marketplaces in Virginia and Kentucky next year, providing an early signal on the insurer’s exchange business. Cigna Corp.and Aetna Inc., which like Anthem have said they are reconsidering their exchange offerings, are among the insurers that made similar filings in Virginia. But one current Virginia ACA insurer, UnitedHealth Group Inc., didn’t file 2018 forms, and a spokesman confirmed it would leave the state’s marketplace next year. (Wilde Mathews and Radnofsky, 4/20)

The Washington Post: Trump Must Decide Whether To Support Or Undermine Obamacare
President Trump is pressuring Congress to sink parts of the Affordable Care Act. But now that the first attempt at a GOP health-care overhaul has failed, he must decide whether to throw the law a line. The White House and Republican lawmakers are facing key decisions that could either improve the insurance marketplaces established by the ACA next year or prompt insurers to further hike rates or withdraw from those marketplaces entirely. Republicans had hoped to protect those with marketplace coverage while lawmakers replaced Obamacare. (Winfield Cunningham, 4/19)

Politico: 5 Reasons The Government Might Shut Down
The deadline to keep the federal government open is just about here, but a deal is far from done. With just five workdays left until government funding expires, lawmakers return next week to all the same sticking points that have made full-year funding so elusive and now threaten a government shutdown.  ... Democratic leaders declared that any spending bill must provide money for a key Obamacare subsidy program after Trump threatened to defund the cost-sharing subsidies; the president sees the program as a way to force Democrats to the negotiating table. (Scholtes and Ferris, 4/20)

In other national health care news —

The Wall Street Journal: Trump Signs Legislation Extending Private-Care Program For Veterans
President Donald Trump signed an extension of a Department of Veterans Affairs law on Wednesday to continue a program that helps veterans seek health care outside the VA system. The original legislation, commonly known as the Veterans Choice Act, was slated to expire in August. The measure signed Wednesday by Mr. Trump extends the program until the remaining funds are used, which is expected to happen by the end of the year. (Kesling, 4/19)

Stat: Cancer Doctors To Insurers: Not ‘Fail First,’ But ‘Patients First’
Cancer patients are locked in an intensifying struggle with insurers, who sometimes force them to try less expensive drugs before moving to more expensive ones, even against doctors’ wishes. Now the American Society of Clinical Oncology, or ASCO, is deepening its involvement in the fight, issuing a set of recommendations Tuesday that it hopes insurers will follow as they confront a growing lineup of expensive cancer drugs. (Tedeschi, 4/20)

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