Good morning ... and happy Friday.
The public isn’t sure how much of the Affordable Care Act is still around, or how well it’s working, or how many people are signing up. More than any one preference or opinion, sheer confusion seems like the biggest takeaway from the Kaiser Family Foundation’s latest tracking poll.
By the numbers, based on KFF's Jan. 16-21 poll:
Yes, but: Voters are confident about one thing — who’s to blame for … whatever is happening. It’s the other guy.
HHS is set to release a 2017 wrap-up later this morning that ticks off its biggest accomplishments during Trump’s first year.
The other side: HHS did lose its secretary in 2017, after just a few months on the job amid an embarrassing scandal over private-jet travel. And the CDC director is still trying to untangle potential conflicts of interest that have kept her away from Capitol Hill and the public eye.
The bottom line: Some of what HHS plans to highlight today is legitimately very important — reducing the generics backlog is near the top of that list — but 2017 wasn’t all sunshine and rainbows inside the Hubert Humphrey Building.
Regulators in Idaho say they plan to start letting insurance companies sell plans that don’t comply with the ACA. It’s not even remotely clear they have the authority to do that.
The details, via the Wall Street Journal:
What they’re saying:
The big questions: Who will try to stop this? Normally, that job would fall first to HHS, but it’s not clear whether the Trump administration will want to make much effort to enforce the ACA.
That leaves the courts — and raises the additional question of whether insurers will want to actually sell these products if they sense that doing so might have legal consequences.
The lower corporate tax rate and cash repatriation provisions in the GOP tax overhaul will make publicly traded pharmaceutical companies and health insurers a lot wealthier. Axios’ Bob Herman notes that for-profit hospital chains could potentially benefit a lot, too — if they aren’t inundated with debt.
The big picture: Investor-owned hospitals pay close to the current 35% corporate tax rate and will pocket a lot of money when it gets lowered to 21%. Hospitals also will benefit from new “bonus depreciation” rules that essentially allow them to deduct larger portions of investments and assets.
What's on your agenda for next week? Let me know: firstname.lastname@example.org.