AHCA Could Remove Essential Health Benefits, Increase Financial Costs for Consumers

As the process to repeal the Affordable Care Act progresses, Americans are waiting to see whether the American Health Care Act proposal by House Republican will replace the current law requiring insurers to protect consumers with a minimum package of health benefits included in the ACA. In a recent press conference discussing the AHCA, Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price said the administration and Congress will take “additional steps to change the health law.” But so far, replacement proposals have not included this feature. According to a Commonwealth Fund study, the steps Price referred to may include removing the… Full Story

House Budget Committee Advances AHCA, May Impact Low-Income Texans

The House Budget Committee voted 19-17 to advance the American Health Care Act, the Affordable Care Act replacement proposal, on to the House Rules Committee Thursday. The close vote was the result of three GOP defections from the Republican plan. Representatives Gary Palmer, R-Ala., Mark Sanford, R-S.C., and Dave Brat, R-Va., all opposed the AHCA because the proposal allegedly did not adequately repeal the ACA. Along with Palmer, Sanford, and Brat, the top-ranking Democrat on the budget committee—John Yarmuth of Kentucky—also opposed the bill, saying that if the AHCA were enacted, it would cause millions of Americans to lose their… Full Story

Why the AHCA May Not Stabilize Insurance Markets, But Negatively Affect Providers

The current AHCA bill by House Republicans may not be able to stabilize insurance markets as proposed and may negatively affect providers, according to a recent Commonwealth Fund post by Timothy S. Jost of Washington and Lee School of Law and insight from W. Steve Love, president of DFW Hospital Council. Full Story

House Republicans Release American Health Care Act Proposal: Things to Know

House Republicans on Monday released their American Health Care Act proposal, an Obamacare replacement geared toward downsizing the government’s role in helping lower-income Americans access coverage while dismantling other facets of the Affordable Care Act as well. Under the 123-page proposal, which was scheduled to be voted on beginning Wednesday, coverage will still exist for individuals with preexisting conditions and for children under their parents’ (or their legal guardians’) policies until age 26. The AHCA bill will also continue Medicaid expansion until 2020. However, a number of ACA provisions would be repealed under the AHCA, including the individual mandate—it’s replaced… Full Story

Senator Proceeding With New Texas Telemedicine Rules

Texas may be on the road to revising its telemedicine regulations, with Sen. Charles Schwertner (R-Georgetown) saying he would sponsor a bill that “eliminates the requirement for physicians to meet with patients in-person before using telehealth services.” Texas is one of the last states in the country to mandate that an in-person physician and patient relationship must be established before telehealth services can be used. According to mHealth Intelligence, a compromise bill is reported to be heading to the Legislature to eliminate this requirement. “I think we will have a bill very soon,” Schwertner told the Houston Chronicle. Texas’ telemedicine battle… Full Story

Former Tenet Healthcare Corp. Executive Indicted for Alleged Role in $400 Million Fraud Scheme

A former executive of Dallas-based Tenet Healthcare has been indicted for allegedly paying kickbacks for patient referrals and intentionally misleading federal authorities. According to the Department of Justice, the indictment alleges from 2000 through 2013 the executive played a role in an over-$400 million scheme to defraud, victimizing the U.S. government, the Georgia and South Carolina Medicaid programs, and prospective patients of Tenet hospitals. John Holland, 60, was charged on Jan. 24 in the Southern District of Florida with one count of mail fraud, one count of healthcare fraud, and two counts of major fraud against the U.S. Holland previously… Full Story

THA Testifies Before Senate Finance Committee’s Workgroup on Containing Cost Growth

The Texas Hospital Association testified before the Senate Finance Committee’s Workgroup on Feb. 3 to discuss healthcare costs, specifically, the financing environment in which hospitals operate and initiatives they are investing in to reduce costs and improve healthcare quality. John Hawkins, senior vice president of governmental relations at THA, represented the organization while presenting his case to to the SFC, chaired by Sen. Charles Schwerner (R-Georgetown). “Texas hospitals understand the state’s challenge of stretching limited revenue to cover growing budget needs,” Hawkins said in a statement. “Every day, Texas hospitals face the need to serve more patients, invest in the… Full Story

It’s All on the Table: Healthcare Experts Contemplate Donald Trump’s Presidency

For insight on how a Donald Trump presidency will look, experts are closely watching how he addresses healthcare reform: will he fast-track the repeal of the Affordable Care Act without a plan to replace, or will the businessman bring to the table a strategy of how to limit its inevitable ripple effect on providers, health plans, and consumers? Full Story