The 5th Circuit Court of Appeals decision in Texas v. US is due any time. The case on the ACA was argued in July before the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals. Now that open enrollment is winding down in most states, will the decision finally be released? Which ever way it goes, surely it will be appealed to the US Supreme Court.
This is the case that appeals a federal trial court judge’s decision in Dec 2018 that the individual mandate and the entire ACA are invalid now that the tax penalty for being uninsured was dropped to zero. Currently, 18 states, led by Texas, claim the ACA is unconstitutional. 21 states, led by California, are defending the ACA. The federal government also now claims the whole ACA is unconstitutional. Previously, the US Supreme Court said that the tax penalty is what made the mandate and the ACA permissible because Congress has the power to tax.
Timothy Jost and @commonwealthfnd have a good explainer at http://bit.ly/36zTzu7.
What’s getting funded: The Rhode Island Healthcare Cost Trends Project was just awarded a second grant ($1,300,000 in addition to the $550,000 in the first round) from the Peterson Center on Healthcare to expand work on data-driven healthcare transparency to limit healthcare cost growth. The project is a collaboration between Rhode Island state agencies and Brown University. See Peterson Center on Healthcare Expands Partnership with Rhode Island and Brown University on Data-Driven Healthcare Transparency.
The Washington Health Benefit Exchange is jointly leading the implementation of that state’s public option program. The exchange is taking comments on the draft gold, silver and bronze plans that will serve as the foundation for the state’s new Cascade Care public option, to be available for coverage year 2021. The exchange hosts the stakeholder workgroup that proposed the public option plans, and its website provides links to the full public option report, the draft plans, an explanatory powerpoint, background info and links to submit public comment. Colorado, the other state working on a public option, has taken a different approach.
Mass Health Connector aims to boost the state’s coverage rate from 97.2% to 100%, focusing on the last holdouts. According to the latest census information, just 2.8% of Massachusetts residents lack health coverage, the lowest rate of any state.
Maryland is studying the Massachusetts Commonwealth Care Trust Fund model, which provides extra subsidies for people who otherwise lack coverage. The Commonwealth Care Trust Fund is funded from various sources, including a tobacco tax, a penalty levied on people who don’t get health insurance, and the state’s general fund.
Maryland is also implementing the Maryland Easy Enrollment Health Insurance Program, the country’s first attempt to use income tax filing as an entry point for health insurance enrollment. By checking a box on their state income tax return asking the exchange to determine their eligibility for free or low-cost insurance, an uninsured tax filer can have relevant information from their return sent automatically to Maryland’s health insurance exchange. The exchange then uses that data and other available records to determine the individual’s eligibility for Medicaid, CHIP, and PTCs.
Health Insurance 101: Preparing for Open Enrollment is a 25-minute on-demand webinar offered by California-based online broker StrideHealth.
Colorado made big news last week with its draft proposal for a public option. The proposal is required to be submitted to the CO legislature by Nov. 15. Legislation passed last session required CO’s Division of Insurance and the Department of Health Care Policy and Financing to develop the plan. The public comment period runs through Oct 25. Under the draft proposal, the State Option would:
New Jersey is investing $2 million in navigators as it starts the shift from healthcare.gov to its own state-based marketplace. New Jersey’s state-based exchange is officially barely a month old.
For a highly impressive use of data based on the California Health Information Survey using brainpower from the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research, check out the AskCHIS Neighborhood Edition© web tool. The tool lets you search for top health indicators by ZIP code, city, county, and legislative district (state and federal). The sample below shows the prevalence of diabetes across California (diabetes increases health care costs which increase premiums…). Of course, the tool is only for California. Connecticut could use its own version. 😊