Vol. 5, Num. 1: New Association Health Plan Rules, Funding for CHIP, Medi-Cal Improvements, 2018 ObamaCare Predictions, Pharmacists Wary of Naloxone Dispersion, New Lifesaving Drugs


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January 5, 2018 

Volume 5, Number 1

In This Issue

Association Health Plan Rules

Funding for CHIP

Medi-Cal Improvements

2018 Predictions for ObamaCare

Dispersion of Naloxone

New Lifesaving Drugs

TJG On Facebook

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Kaiser Health News: Trump Administration Rule Paves Way For Association Health Plans
The Department of Labor on Thursday released proposed new rules that proponents say will make it easier for businesses to band together in “associations” to buy health insurance. These rules, supporters say, will lead to more affordable choices for some small businesses and sole proprietors, likely starting in 2019. Association coverage “should be cheaper and arguably just as comprehensive” as what many employers can now buy, said Christopher Condeluci, a Washington, D.C., attorney who specializes in employee benefits and has served as the tax and benefits counsel to the U.S. Senate Finance Committee. (Appleby, 1/4)

Source: Kaiser

The Wall Street Journal: Congress Faces Long To-Do List, Short Deadlines
At the end of 2017, Congress punted the long-term resolution of a number of thorny issues into this year. Here’s a rundown of what lawmakers will need to hammer out in early 2018. ... While lawmakers broadly support a five-year reauthorization of the Children’s Health Insurance Program, they have yet to decide how to pay for it. In its latest short-term spending bill, Congress made $2.85 billion available to shore up states’ funding for the program. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services have indicated that should be enough to get states through the end of January or early February, a House GOP aide said. But states have signaled they need more certainty. (Peterson, 1/3)

Source: The Wall Street Journal

California Healthline: State Gives Medi-Cal Enrollees Something To Smile About
Susan Inglett’s dental coverage changed just after she got a root canal on one of her top teeth. It was 2009, and California was in the midst of a budget crisis. To cut costs, Medi-Cal, the state health insurance program for low-income residents, eliminated non-emergency dental benefits for adults. Inglett, 63, of San Diego, needed a crown for that vulnerable tooth, but the state no longer paid for them. (Bazar, 1/3)

Source: CA Healthline

The Hill: Credit Rater Predicts Stable Year For ObamaCare Markets 
The ObamaCare insurance markets will be relatively stable through 2018, analysts predicted Wednesday. Insurers have adapted to the uncertainty surrounding the Trump administration's handling of the law, A.M. Best, a global credit rating organization, wrote in a briefing released Wednesday. It said insurers should have a stable 2018. (Hellmann, 1/3)

Source: The Hill

Kaiser Health News: Pharmacists Slow To Dispense Overdose Drug
Gale Dunham, a pharmacist in Calistoga, Calif., knows the devastation the opioid epidemic has wrought, and she is glad the anti-overdose drug naloxone is becoming more accessible. But so far, Dunham said, she has not taken advantage of a California law that allows pharmacists to dispense the medication to patients without a doctor’s prescription. She said she plans to take the training required at some point but has not yet seen much demand for the drug. (Gorman, 1/3)

Source: Kaiser

The New York Times: Made In China: New And Potentially Lifesaving Drugs
One new drug promises to stop cancer from spreading to other organs. Another would treat blood cancer. A third would use the body’s immune system to kill tumors. All three show encouraging results, and need just one more step to be approved for use in the United States. The drugs have something else in common: They were created in China. (Wee, 1/3)

Source: The NY Times


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