What's Next in Healthcare Reform?

If we had a crystal ball we could tell you what's ahead for health care reform - we don't! But, despite the latest failure of efforts to repeal the ACA, we would agree with John Cassidy, who wrote in the New Yorker, that the "war over health care isn't over" For example, the Center for American Progress reports on three openings for ACA repeal in the Senate Budget.

Here are some other topics  that may be of interest to you:

  • Tom Price resigned as HHS Secretary last week over some pesky issues around his airline flights. According to an Op Ed in the Washington Post this could be an opportunity for a bipartisan effort.    
  • According to Politico last week, Senators Alexander and Murray are "inching toward a deal to stabilize Obamacare."    
Medicare, the good and the bad:
  • Good: The Senate unanimously passed a healthcare reform bill last Wednesday. No kidding. Known as the CHRONIC Care Act, the bill expands programs created by the ACA aimed at expanding telemedicine, improving how Medicare pays for care with people with chronic conditions, and lowers Medicare costs.
  • Bad: Administration proposals that could mean higher costs to patients, such as expanding Medicare Advantage programs.
Medicaid - keeping a watch on other states:
Private Insurance - Sales Across State Lines:
  • President Trump announced that he may soon sign an Executive Order which would allow consumers to purchase their health insurance across state lines. This undercuts many of the ACA's important consumer protections with, among other things, the potential for skimpier benefits.
HHS Strategic Plan:

Children's Health Insurance Program and Community Health Center Reauthorization

Midnight on Saturday, September 30 passed and Congress still had not reauthorized funding for two important programs. Nearly 9 million children across the United States were left in limbo by this lack of action. And, Community Health Centers, which provide care for our most vulnerable and are vital in many rural areas, now wonder where their funding will come from PBS News Hour reported on the Health Centers last week and here's more information on CHIP:
  • The Kaiser Family Foundation released a series of Tweets outlining the impact that missing the deadline will have, and issued a report showing when states would run out of funding. At a meeting last week, Maryland officials said the state will run out of money for CHIP in February of 2018, but that is no reason why families should suffer with more "uncertainties."
  • Kelly Whitener from the Georgetown University Health Policy Instituteexplains how failure to extend funding by the deadline will threaten the stability of children's coverage.
  • The National Association of Medicaid Directors sent a letter to the Chairman of the Senate Finance and Energy and Commerce Committees, warning of potentially dire outcomes for some states if CHIP is not reauthorized.
  • A Congressional House Panel is expected to take up a proposal as early as Tuesday on CHIP, and the Senate released a bipartisan five-year bill to reauthorize the program, but there has been little discussion about how to pay for it, and a vote hasn't been scheduled.

Open Enrollment Begins November First!

... and runs through December 15th, 20017Note that thanks to t he Trump Administration  that is 45 days shorter than last year.  Therefore, it is important that consumers know they can:
  • Visit our website for more Maryland insurance resources on selecting the right plan for you and your family.
Fall Fun Coming Up!
  • Tuesday, October 3rd - House and Government Operations Committee Meeting. They will get an update from the Work Group on Rural Health Care Delivery, and a briefing on Maternal and Child Health Care Services. 1:00 PM, Room 240, House Office Building, 6 Bladen St., Annapolis, MD 21401.
  • Wednesday, October 4th - Marylanders Speak to Governor Hogan. 7:30 - 9:00 PM, Richard Montgomery High School, 250 Richard Montgomery Drive, Rockville, MD 20852. Experts, including Consumer Health First Board President, Leni Preston, will address issues and policies raised by the Trump administration that Governor Hogan has so far refused to address in a public forum. Namely, Health Care, Climate and the Environment, and Education. The event is free, but you need to register for the event here.
  • Thursday, October 26th - A film screening of the documentary, "Care." Providing quality care for an aging population will require re-imagining how we value and compensate care workers and how we support families who need their services. Film starts at 6:00 PM. University of Maryland School of Social Work, 525 West Redwood Street, Baltimore, MD, 21201. Admission is free, but reservations strongly encouraged by October 19, 2017 to Jennifer Pelton.
Spice Up Your Holiday Shopping and Give!

We Need You!
We simply can't do this work without your financial support.    
  • November 1st is National Vinegar Day, and Consumer Health First is once again partnering with Secolari, purveyor of artisanal culinary oils and vinegars, for some tasty fundraising! Join us online or at the Secolari store in Columbia, from 10:00 AM - 9:00 PM. 15% of all pre-tax purchases will go to Consumer Health First. Buy something special for yourself, or stock up on hostess and holiday gifts.

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