KHN’s ‘What the Health?’: Finally Fixing the ‘Family Glitch’

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The Biden administration this week issued rules geared toward fixing the Inexpensive Care Act’s “household glitch,” which has prevented households that may’t afford their employer insurance coverage from getting backed protection from the insurance coverage marketplaces. The Obama administration had determined that solely Congress may repair the glitch.

In the meantime, open enrollment for Medicare begins Oct. 15, when beneficiaries can be a part of or change non-public Medicare Benefit plans or stand-alone prescription drug plans. For the primary time, Medicare Benefit plans are poised to enroll greater than half of the Medicare inhabitants regardless of allegations that most of the largest insurers are getting billions of {dollars} in overpayments from the federal authorities.

This week’s panelists are Julie Rovner of KHN, Margot Sanger-Katz of The New York Instances, Joanne Kenen of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg Faculty of Public Well being and Politico, and Rachel Cohrs of Stat.

Among the many takeaways from this week’s episode:

  • The “household glitch” arose as a result of below ACA guidelines, individuals supplied insurance coverage via their office typically don’t qualify for subsidies in the event that they as a substitute buy a coverage on {the marketplace} — until their work insurance coverage is deemed unaffordable. That willpower was made primarily based on the price of insurance coverage for the person employee, not what a household coverage would price. Since household insurance policies are significantly costlier than particular person insurance policies, they’re usually unaffordable for staff. The brand new federal regulation will have in mind the price of the household protection.
  • Democrats had been conscious of this downside at the same time as they handed the ACA. However that is an costly change, and so they had been determined to maintain the price of the invoice beneath $1 trillion. That they had promised to repair the “household glitch” however had not achieved it.
  • Many well being coverage specialists believed the repair would must be made by Congress, however the Biden administration opted to do it via regulation. Whether or not the regulation will face authorized challenges from critics shouldn’t be clear, however opponents might have a tough time proving they’re being harmed by the brand new rule and have standing to deliver a lawsuit.
  • Many seniors are pleased with their Medicare Benefit plans, which regularly provide extra advantages than conventional Medicare at a decreased price. Enrollees, nevertheless, typically should keep inside a plan’s community of well being care suppliers.
  • Questions have been raised about federal funds to the plans. They had been initially envisioned as a method to economize as a result of lawmakers thought they’d be extra environment friendly than the government-run plan. However the benchmark formulation for the plans now offers them greater than 100% of what the federal government would pay for a median particular person in conventional Medicare, and the federal government pays the plans bonuses for taking up sicker sufferers.
  • These bonuses have been the topic of quite a few authorities investigations, whistleblower allegations, and a few fraud lawsuits that allege the plans misidentify enrollees’ medical circumstances to get greater reimbursements from the federal government. However whereas some watchdog teams have raised considerations, the Facilities for Medicare & Medicaid Companies has not made main modifications to the reimbursement formulation, partly as a result of Medicare Benefit has excessive affected person satisfaction and bipartisan help on Capitol Hill.
  • As lawmakers get nearer to Election Day subsequent month, Democrats have trumpeted their help for abortion rights and hit laborious at Republicans who supported the Supreme Courtroom’s determination to overturn Roe v. Wade, which had assured entry throughout the nation. The Democrats, nevertheless, haven’t been as energetic in making a case for his or her passage of the Inflation Discount Act, which supplied a number of common modifications, together with caps on out-of-pocket drug bills for Medicare beneficiaries, a provision permitting Medicare to start negotiating the value of some medicine, and an extension of enhanced subsidies for individuals who purchase insurance coverage on the ACA marketplaces.
  • Democrat John Fetterman’s marketing campaign for a U.S. Senate seat from Pennsylvania has been slowed down a bit by his restoration from a stroke he had earlier this 12 months. He’s again on the path and is making dwell appearances, however he makes use of a pc system to assist him translate conversations into written language as a result of he says his auditory processing has not healed. Critics have stated he needs to be extra clear together with his medical information. Incapacity advocates have hit again towards the criticism of Fetterman.

Plus, for additional credit score, the panelists advocate their favourite well being coverage tales of the week they assume it’s best to learn:

Julie Rovner: KHN’s “If You’re Nervous Concerning the Setting, Think about Being Composted When You Die,” by Bernard J. Wolfson

Margot Sanger-Katz: KHN’s “Child, That Invoice Is Excessive: Non-public Fairness ‘Gambit’ Squeezes Extreme ER Expenses From Routine Births,” by Rae Ellen Bichell

Joanne Kenen: The Meals & Environmental Reporting Community’s “For One Traditionally Black California City, a Century of Water Entry Denied,” by Teresa Cotsirilos 

Rachel Cohrs: Stat’s “A Miniscule New HHS Workplace Has a Mammoth Purpose: Tackling Environmental Justice,” by Sarah Owermohle

Additionally talked about on this week’s episode:

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This story was produced by KHN (Kaiser Well being Information), a nationwide newsroom that produces in-depth journalism about well being points. Along with Coverage Evaluation and Polling, KHN is without doubt one of the three main working applications at KFF (Kaiser Household Basis). KFF is an endowed nonprofit group offering info on well being points to the nation.

KHN (Kaiser Well being Information) is a nationwide newsroom that produces in-depth journalism about well being points. Along with Coverage Evaluation and Polling, KHN is without doubt one of the three main working applications at KFF (Kaiser Household Basis). KFF is an endowed nonprofit group offering info on well being points to the nation.


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