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Now that Washington has decided not to help shore up the Affordable Care Act’s insurance markets, a lot of attention will inevitably turn to the states. But don’t expect to see anything approaching a comprehensive fix at the state level.
The latest: States are mainly looking at two big policy solutions to try to stabilize their individual insurance markets — passing their own version of an individual mandate, or creating their own reinsurance programs to help compensate insurers for their most expensive patients, so that they don’t recoup those costs through higher premiums.
Yes, but: It’s mostly the usual blue-state suspects — California, Maryland, Washington — considering these steps.
The Medicare Payment Advisory Commission, an influential body that studies health policy, is once again recommending Congress slash Medicare payments to companies that provide home health services. And though MedPAC has said this before, how home health is paid for is getting more important as home health becomes more popular, Axios' Bob Herman notes.
By the numbers: The average profit margin home health companies made on Medicare payments is 15.5%, according to MedPAC's most recent report.
Yes, but: The home health industry argues that margin is misleading and doesn't account for marketing, technology, bad debt and other costs.
For all the fits and starts of Washington's response to the opioid crisis, my colleague Caitlin Owens flags one idea that just about everyone seems to agree on — giving the Food and Drug Administration more money and authority to stop drugs like fentanyl from coming to the U.S. through the mail.
Key quote: "There’s a virtual flood of dangerous products entering the U.S. though mail packages that expose Americans to dangerous pills. We’re dealing with sophisticated bad actors that are aware of the gaps and weaknesses in our authorities and exploiting them," FDA commissioner Scott Gottlieb testified to the Energy and Commerce Committee last week.
What they're proposing:
Why it matters: This has enough support, from all corners, to stand a pretty good chance of becoming law.
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