Good morning … In case you missed the big news out of Alabama yesterday, it's true — the state is about to start sending out letters notifying families that coverage through the Children's Health Insurance Program could be ending soon. Oh, and Doug Jones won the Senate race.
"Go ahead and fund that CHIP program before I get up there," Jones said in his victory speech.
Could Doug Jones' victory save the Affordable Care Act's individual mandate? Maybe, but it's a stretch.
The health care industry is on a mergers-and-acquisitions bender right now. But, as my colleague Bob Herman reports this morning, it's not clear whether all of that consolidation will leave patients any better off.
Why now? As more Baby Boomers age into Medicare and more low-income families gain coverage through the ACA's Medicaid expansion, hospitals are taking on a lot more patients whose bills get paid by the government.
Yes, but: The risk to the broader system is that health care companies might see savings from mergers, but people won't feel the benefits.
The American Academy of Actuaries is throwing some cold water on Republicans' claims that they'll offset the damage from repealing the ACA's individual mandate by restoring funding for the law's cost-sharing subsidies.
The big question: Does Collins believe this analysis, and does she care? Collins has made two ACA-related demands — a vote on Alexander-Murray, and a vote to establish a new reinsurance fund — in return for her vote to repeal the individual mandate.
House Energy and Commerce chairman Greg Walden is not on board with pushing CHIP into next year, The Hill reports. Walden said a bill to extend federal CHIP funding, which expired in September, needs to be attached to a spending bill that would keep the federal government open past Dec. 22.
Yes, but: GOP leadership aides have said they don't expect to reach a deal on CHIP by the end of next week.
The ACA's authors aimed to bolster competition and improve access to coverage, in part, through two new health plans that would be available across state lines. By 2017, those plans were supposed to be available in all 50 states.
Reality check: Instead, there is one plan, in one state. Republicans are targeting this part of the ACA for repeal, and no one is rushing to its defense. So, what went wrong?
“They never added that much value," Georgetown University health policy professor Sabrina Corlette says of the ACA's multistate plans.
What's next? Sen. Ron Johnson and Rep. Mark Meadows introduced a bill yesterday to repeal this part of the ACA, saying the plans are still costing the government money even though they barely exist. It's pretty hard to pass any bill right now, but no one's rushing to defend the remnants of the multistate plan.
“I've always sort of felt like it was well-intentioned but not reflective of the right reality of what's limiting competition," Corlette says