Good morning ... It's Friday. We made it.
Some Affordable Care Act supporters had questioned whether there would be any limit to the Trump administration's efforts to undermine the law. Well, here it is — the administration will enforce the ACA, at least against the most brazen attempts to flout it.
Why it matters: This is bigger than Idaho. It was the first state to try this, but if CMS had signed off, it would not have been the last. In fact, state lawmakers in Iowa voted to advance a similar idea just a few hours before CMS released its verdict on Idaho’s effort.
Administration officials made it clear that they were barring Idaho’s plan not because it would undermine the ACA, but because it’s illegal — and that they want to change that.
How it works: The Department of Health and Human Services, acting on President Trump’s instructions, has already said that consumers can keep bare-bones, short-term health plans for up to a year.
The bottom line: A system in which “short-term plans” last for a year, and can be renewed for multiple years, would put them on the same footing as traditional insurance, and would not be much different from the system Idaho was pursuing.
What’s next: If HHS ultimately decides it has the ability to let people renew short-term plans for multiple years, then the basic structure Idaho attempted could come back pretty quickly. If it needs to get that authority from Congress, that’ll be a lot harder.
Cigna’s stock price dropped more than 11% Thursday, a clear sign that Wall Street was not impressed with Cigna’s $67 billion deal to take over Express Scripts.
Why the shade? “They’re playing catch-up with their peers,” Height Capital Markets analyst Andrea Harris told Axios’ Bob Herman.
Between the lines: Wall Street thought Cigna was going to buy a big Medicare player like Humana or a Medicaid plan — not a PBM that's losing a major client.
Yes, but: Per Bob, both companies are still large, profitable enterprises that have no problem spending billions merging, in part because tax reform was a massive “shareholder value creation opportunity” event for them.
Goodness gracious, does it also need a shorter name. Anyway...
Executives from Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway and JPMorgan Chase are trying to find a CEO for their new (and still poorly defined) health care entity. According to CNBC's Christina Farr, so far the companies have reached out to three potential candidates — two of whom aren't interested.
Key CNBC quote: "The three companies may disintermediate the middlemen in the drug supply chain, such as the pharmacy benefits managers and drug distributors, or bring in new technology like telemedicine to improve access to primary care for workers across the country."
The liberal-leaning Center on Budget and Policy Priorities is out this morning with a new analysis of all the competing ideas for stabilizing the ACA's insurance markets — including a reminder of the case against funding the law's cost-sharing reduction payments, or CSRs, even in conjunction with a new reinsurance program.
Go deeper: There would likely be more losers than winners if Congress funds CSRs.
What's good? I'm all ears: firstname.lastname@example.org.