Trump Promises Insurance for All as Obamacare Repeal Advances

President-elect Donald Trump says his plan to replace the nation’s health care law will include “insurance for everybody.” Mr. Trump made the comment in an interview with the Washington Post published on Sunday.

The president-elect says: “We’re going to have insurance for everybody. There was a philosophy in some circles that if you can’t pay for it, you don’t get it. That’s not going to happen with us.”
Mr. Trump declined to reveal any details.

An embrace of universal health care would mark a sharp break for most Republicans, as they plan to repeal and replace the current health care law. A full repeal without an immediate replacement would strip health care insurance from millions of Americans.

Mr. Trump told the Post he expects Congress to address the issue in the coming weeks.
The House on Friday afternoon adopted a House-Senate measure to make it easier for a subsequent Obamacare repeal bill to advance through the Senate without the threat of a Democratic filibuster. The House approved the resolution in a 227-198 vote.

The legislation doesn’t need to be signed by the president and wouldn’t actually change a word of the hotly contested health care law. But its passage is crucial if Republicans controlling Congress are to keep their longstanding promise to scuttle the law, which has delivered health coverage to about 20 million people but is saddled with problems such as rapidly rising premiums and large co-payments.

CALIFORNIA NEWS

Trump Medicaid Reform Will Be Felt in State
Along with his vow to repeal Obamacare, President-elect Donald Trump has promised to restructure Medicaid, the nation’s low-income health program — a move that could be acutely felt in California, where 1 in 3 residents receive health coverage through the state version, experts say. Medi-Cal enrollment surged by 5 million over the last three years to a total of 13.5 million under President Obama’s Affordable Care Act.

Some of those Californians could lose portions of their benefits or possibly be dropped from coverage altogether if Trump carries out his plan, which would likely cost the state billions. Even residents who relied on the program long before the current expansion could be affected.
“The cuts in federal funding could be quite significant, and California would have to make a lot of hard choices,” said UC Berkeley Labor Center healthcare program manager Laurel Lucia said in the Los Angeles Times. “There’s no way California could maintain the program it currently has.”

Scripps, Cigna Form San Diego Venture
Scripps Health and Cigna have entered into an alliance to offer employers in and around San Diego integrated health care products designed to improve access, quality and affordability while making the health care experience simpler.

Effective April 1, 2017, Scripps and Cigna will jointly offer HMO health plans branded as Scripps Select HMO to employers with at least 100 employees. Employers can choose a fully insured plan, or they can opt for other funding arrangements.

The alliance agreement includes pay-for-value incentives that encourage quality care and appropriate use of resources. The ultimate goal is to improve health outcomes and provide sustained affordability and value for employers and their employees.

“With providers, payers, employers and individuals working together, Scripps and Cigna are building an innovative health care model that encourages care coordination to achieve common goals – better health, more affordability and an ideal patient experience,” said Chris Van Gorder, president and CEO of Scripps.
“Our joint approach to health care is different from a traditional one because it’s based on very close integration between Cigna and Scripps Health,” said Gene Rapisardi, president and general manager for Cigna’s Southern California and Nevada markets. “We have a unified purpose – to put the customers we serve at the center of all we do, and help them access affordable and personalized care. We recognize that health care is local, so our goal is to create the premier local plan that exceeds the expectations of San Diego employers and their employees.”

Rapisardi noted that while the Scripps Select HMO plans provide health care coverage within the San Diego area, local employers with workforces in multiple markets have the option to purchase additional coverage through Cigna; for example, a San Diego employer with employees based in Sacramento or Dallas would be able to cover those employees.

NATIONAL NEWS

Consumers Don’t Feel the Love From Their Health Insurance
More Americans now have health insurance than ever before, but that doesn’t mean they are getting individualized healthcare guidance. Sixty-one percent of consumers believe that their health plan gives similar incentives and recommendations to the entire population, rather than personalized direction. The data comes from a January 2017 HealthMine survey of 750 consumers with sponsored health insurance. The findings also show that nearly three quarters of members don’t think their insurance plan understands their health very well.

Members’ perspectives may be influenced by how their health plan communicates with them. Thirty percent of respondents said their plan’s communication with them was “impersonal” or “mass oriented.” Another 22 percent said their plans communication with them occurred “only around my bills.”

Brennan Collins, vice president of product at HealthMine said, “Health plans have more data than ever about each member, thanks to the growing digitization of healthcare – but they’re not deriving value from it. Health data creates value when plan sponsors combine and translate it into useful insights that improve health outcomes and lower costs for each member. That’s health intelligence.” He continued, “Health intelligence provides personalized insight, personalized clinical guidance and personalized incentives to close gaps in care. It adds up to improved population health, one member at a time.”

Commissioner OKs Kaiser Takeover of Seattle Cooperative
Kaiser Foundation Health Plan Inc.’s pending acquisition of Seattle’s Group Health Cooperative drew one step closer to reality today with final approval by Washington State Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler. The approval was the last major hurdle before Kaiser Permanente extends its integrated model of care and coverage in the state of Washington.

The Commissioner’s approval clears the way for both organizations to take the remaining actions necessary to close the transaction on Feb. 1, 2017. Upon close, Group Health, with its more than 650,000 members, will become a part of Kaiser Permanente.

MARKETING

Tips for ‘Marketing Plan That Rocks’
Bloomfire.com recommends spending more on social media, staying up to date on mobile devices, including wearables such as watches, and putting more emphasis on niche content and videos. Also, it recommends consolidation of marketing platforms. “One platform that provides clear insight into your various marketing campaigns and how they’re affecting your company’s ROI is preferable to six or seven incohesive platforms; as information is processed from platform to platform, it is lost, misinterpreted and fails to take data that is stored elsewhere into account.” The list of tips is here.

PEOPLE

Eischen Joins McGlinchey
McGlinchey Stafford has added James J. Eischen Jr. to the firm’s Irvine, Calif., office as a member. Eischen, a seasoned health care attorney, will work within the firm’s Health Care and Business Transactions practice groups.

Eischen has nearly 30 years of experience in business, health care and real estate, and is a national authority and speaker within the medical law and communications fields. He is recognized nationally for his federal compliance experience, structuring consumer/patient financial contribution and reimbursement models for private/concierge medical groups and health care IT product developers.

Eischen handles a wide range of health care business, including physician independent practice associations as well as physician practice purchase and employment transactions. He also works with companies that deliver wellness products and programs to ensure their compliance with reimbursement and privacy laws and regulations.

“My practice is focused on helping companies find ways to make health care work for them, and helping physicians structure their practices optimally for doing business in today’s marketplace,” Eischen said.

Zachry Named to Fellowship
The Sedgwick Institute in Memphis, Tenn., has awarded a senior fellowship to risk management expert William Zachary. Sedgwick established the institute in 2016 as an interdisciplinary community of experts dedicated to elevating the dialogue around issues affecting the risk and benefits industry. As a senior fellow of the Sedgwick Institute, Zachry will work with Director Chris Mandel and Senior Fellow Dr. Rick Victor to pursue research and provide thought leadership on industry issues. He will also serve as a senior adviser to Sedgwick’s workers’ compensation practice group.

Zachry is known as a champion of workers’ compensation reform. He serves on the board of the State Compensation Insurance Fund, California’s largest provider of workers’ compensation insurance; Zachry was appointed to the board by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger in 2010 and reappointed by Gov. Jerry Brown in 2014. He also participated in the design and implementation of regulations to bring greater equity to the California workers’ compensation system.

“With so much regulatory uncertainty on the horizon, Bill Zachry’s experience, expertise, passion and longstanding industry relationships will be invaluable assets to the Sedgwick Institute,” said Dave North, Sedgwick president and chief executive. “This new role will allow Bill to share his tremendous knowledge and benefit the claims industry at large. We’re thrilled to have him on board.”

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