The Rundown | Week of 1.1.2018

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Healthcare Reform is at the Top of the List Again

Republicans are faced with a very familiar problem to start 2018: What to do about Obamacare? According to a new report from USA Today, Congressional Republicans are facing pressure to tackle healthcare. The GOP tax bill, that was passed at the end of 2017, included a repeal of the Obamacare individual mandate that was previously established to ensure young, healthy people were insured to provide balance. The Congressional Budget Office predicts a 10 percent increase in premiums based on the repeal of this mandate.

A key vote for this bill, Senator Susan Collins, only agreed to vote for the GOP tax bill, as long as they passed two bills that would stabilize Obamacare. This places pressure on Mitch McConnell and Senate Republicans to act quickly.

>>Read more: “Republicans face a fresh fight over Obamacare: Repeal it or repair it?”

Affordable Care Act Enrollment Dips Slightly

8.7 million people enrolled in healthcare coverage via this year, five percent fewer than who signed last year, reports the Washington Post. This marginal drop might be attributed to individuals who were unable to keep their healthcare plans due to recent changes in the marketplace.

>>Read more: “‘Obamacare’ Sign up Tally Dips to 8.7M”

Changes to Medicare Advantage Imminent

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) recently released the first part of its 2019 advance notice of changes for Medicare Advantage capitation rates and Part D payment policies, Healthcare Finance News reports. Changes include an alteration in the percent of encounter data used for payment. In 2019, CMS plans to calculate risk scores by adding 25 percent of the risk score calculated using diagnoses from encounter data and fee-for-service diagnoses with 75 percent of the risk score calculated with diagnoses from the risk adjustment payment system (RAPS), and fee-for-service diagnoses.

>>Read more: “CMS releases advance notice of MA payment, risk model”

Life Expectancy Drops For Second Time

According to a new CNN report, Americans can now expect to live 78.6 years, a drop of 0.1 year from previous year. After last’s year decline, this is first multiyear drop since 1962 and 1963. American women are expected to live 5 years longer than men at 81.1 years and 76.1 years, respectively.

Bob Anderson, chief of the mortality statistics branch at the National Center for Health Statistics, part of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, does not consider this a trend but certainly a concern to see two years in a row.

>>Read more: “US life expectancy drops for second year in a row”

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