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Coffee CAHC policy round up: October 18, 2017

Coffee CAHC is a twice-weekly newsletter where we round up and comment on the latest health coverage policy developments both nationally and here in Maine. We hope you find these updates helpful!

Have suggestions or feedback? Let me know (sbutterfield@mainecahc.org). If you like these emails, please share them with others, and ask them to sign up here. 

Coffee CAHC
115th Congress, 1st session
128th Maine Legislature, adjourned 

Wednesday, October 18, 2017  

Hey, it’s me, Steve! I’m back! 

Major, major, major kudos and thank-you to Emily for taking over Coffee CAHC while I was gone. I will be honest, I didn’t anticipate it being quite such a busy two weeks on the policy front… 

If anybody’s curious, Colombia was magnificent. I got to see some old dear friends from grad school who live there, and relished getting to spend two weeks kicking around a beautiful, fascinating country. 

As it happens, I was only back in Maine for about 72 hours, and now I’m winging off to Atlanta later today for the Community Catalyst annual conference through the rest of the week. I’ll provide some updates from down there in Friday’s Coffee CAHC. 

National level 

There’s a bipartisan stabilization package, folks! 

He loves it, he loves it not… 

We’re still waiting on a few details, but the broad strokes are that Senator Lamar Alexander and Senator Patty Murray have agreed in principle to fund CSRs for 2018 and 2019, restore over $100 million of outreach funding that was cut by the Trump administration, and provide “significant flexibility” to 1332 waivers. 

He loves it, he loves it not… 

And then there’s the President. Last night, he said this agreement was great; this morning, he walked that back. So, who knows. 

If or when it will move is a big remaining question. Lots of observers seem to think that this will get wrapped up into a big end-of-year omnibus deal that will cross multiple policy avenues, but there’s a slim outside chance that if leadership in both chambers decides to get on board, it could hit the floor within the next week or two. 

The other big question is what the impact will be. It’s tough to say. At this point, contracts for Marketplace plans for 2018 have already been signed, sealed, and delivered, so it’s unlikely verging on “impossible” that the actual insurers offering plans will change at this point (especially with open enrollment starting in just a few weeks). But is it possible that rates could change? That gets more complicated, and would happen state-by-state. I’m not sure what if anything would happen on that front here in Maine. 

State level 

The Legislature will be back in session next week, very briefly, to approve a few lingering pieces of business. Nothing that we here at CAHC are tracking very closely, but don’t be surprised if you hear that they’re back. 

Would you like to know more? 

As always, I turn to The Jost With The Most to unpack the stabilization agreement. Here’s his take in Health Affairs. 

Feeling like an overachiever? Read the draft text of the entire Alexander-Murray package here! 

Until next time, friends, I remain, 

-Steve 

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