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HEALTH ACTION NETWORK - ADVOCATES FOR BETTER HEALTH CARE SOLUTIONS

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This Week in Health Care Reform: August 25th, 2017

Stakeholders continue in their health care reform efforts; employers accelerate the transition to value; and, lawmakers turn their attention to funding CHIP.

Week in Review

Reform Next Steps: Despite the murky outlook, efforts to address the challenges facing our health care system continue apace.  Recently, a group of more than a dozen leading health care organizations sent a letter to Congress, in which they offered up a set of recommendations for lawmakers to consider in order to stabilize the individual market and bring down the cost of care, including funding the cost-sharing reduction subsidies.  For their part, elected officials, keenly aware of the hurdles in front of them, plan to hit the ground running once they return to Washington.  As previously covered, both the Senate Finance and HELP Committees have scheduled bipartisan hearings next month focused on bringing stability to the individual market.  The schedule for those first sets of hearings was released earlier this week and will see HELP Committee members hear from governors and state health insurance commissioners on successive days.  In advance of those hearings, a pair of governors is preparing its own bipartisan set of solutions for Congress to consider.  Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper, a Democrat, and Ohio Gov. John Kasich, a Republican, expect to release their proposal ahead of the Senate hearing, where Gov. Hickenlooper is also expected to be a witness.

Employers Focus on Value: At its heart, our health care system’s transition to value-based care is about the shared desire to make sure that the care that’s being delivered to patient-consumers is cost-effective.  Large employers, who are no strangers to this focus, have also embraced this approach, as they, too, look to contain health costs and improve quality for their employees.  In a new survey from the National Business Group on Health (NBGH), nearly 40 percent of employers reported incorporating some “type of value-based benefit design” into their employees’ health packages next year.  According to the NBGH survey, this value-based approach allows workers to lower their co-pays or premiums by being more engaged in their own health care, like taking steps to better manage chronic conditions or by seeking out higher-quality, more efficient care.

CHIP Funding: F
ederal funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) is scheduled to expire on September 30th.  With an already packed agenda awaiting them, that leaves lawmakers little time to protect a program that, as of earlier this year, covered nearly 9 million children.  CHIP, which was signed into law in 1997, was created for children whose families were ineligible for Medicaid, but who were also unable to afford private insurance.  Having risen above the political fray frustrating GOP repeal-and-replace efforts, experts caution that successful passage of CHIP funding before the program expires is dependent upon a clean reauthorization bill.

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We encourage you to stay involved as implementation efforts surrounding health care reform progress.  Visit the Health Action Network and be sure to let us know what's on your mind.


 

Spotlight

Two former CMS Administrators offer up their recommendations on ways to reform Medicaid, emphasizing the critical role that investing in innovative solutions and data infrastructure will play in the program’s success.
                                            
                                            

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Have a safe and happy holiday!