Republicans Shift Strategy, Go Small On Latest Health Law Changes
The move suggests that lawmakers are willing to make adjustments to the current law, despite plans to release replacement plan details. In other news, the insured who aren't getting subsidies struggle under the threat of skyrocketing premiums.
GOP Surprises With Push For Smaller ObamaCare Changes
House Republicans are considering small-bore changes to ObamaCare even as they prepare to release an outline for replacing the entire law. The House Energy and Commerce Committee on Friday held a hearing on five bills that would make relatively small changes to the health law, such as changing the documentation required to enroll in coverage or changing how insurers can use someone's age in setting premiums. The moves indicate that Republicans have not ruled out making adjustments to the existing law despite preperations to tout their long-awaited replacement plan for all of ObamaCare, coming from Speaker Paul Ryan’s (R-Wis.) task force later this month. (Sullivan, 6/10)
The Associated Press:
Rising Premiums Rattle Consumers Paying Their Own Way
Millions of people who pay the full cost of their health insurance will face the sting of rising premiums next year, with no financial help from government subsidies. Renewal notices bearing the bad news will go out this fall, just as the presidential election is in the homestretch. "I don't know if I could swallow another 30 or 40 percent without severely cutting into other things I'm trying to do, like retirement savings or reducing debt," said Bob Byrnes, of Blaine, Minnesota, a Twin Cities suburb. His monthly premium of $524 is already about 50 percent more than he was paying in 2015, and he has a higher deductible. (6/13)
In other national health care news —
The New York Times:
Officials Preparing For Zika Virus To Spread In The U.S.
The federal government, preparing for homegrown cases of the Zika virus, is planning to release a proposal for responding to them, health officials said Friday. The 60-page document, a blueprint for action when the first cases of locally transmitted Zika occur in the continental United States, could be released early next week, officials at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said. They emphasized that it was a working draft that could change based on advice from state officials. Sylvia Mathews Burwell, the secretary of health and human services, and Dr. Thomas R. Frieden, the director of the C.D.C., spoke by videoconference with state governors Thursday about the plan. On Friday, experts with the C.D.C. talked with state health departments. (Tavernise, 6/10)
Investors See Big Opportunities In Opioid Addiction Treatment
The first time Ray Tamasi got hit up by an investor, it was kind of out of the blue. "This guy called me up," says Tamasi, president of Gosnold on Cape Cod, an addiction treatment center with seven sites in Massachusetts. "The guy" represented a group of investors; Tamasi declines to say whom. But they were looking to buy addiction treatment centers like Gosnold. "He had checked around and learned that we were one of the more reputable programs. We had a good reputations in the community — nice array of services," Tamasi recalls. "He wanted to know if we were interested in becoming part of his company." (Kodjak, 6/10)
The Washington Post:
In U.S. Drinking Water, Many Chemicals Are Regulated — But Many Aren’t
For all the pathogens and chemicals monitored by the federal government to protect drinking water, a far broader universe of “emerging contaminants” is going unregulated. The Environmental Protection Agency keeps tabs on scores of substances that have surfaced in water systems around the country, with the aim of restricting those that endanger public health. But partly because the rules that the agency must follow are complicated and contentious, officials have failed to successfully regulate any new contaminant in two decades. Only once since the 1990s has the EPA come close to imposing a new standard — for perchlorate, a chemical found in explosives, road flares, rocket fuel and, it turns out, the drinking water of over 16 million people. (Dennis, 6/10)