Federal Actions Cause Further Erosion of Individual Market Stability

Stacey Pogue

The Texas Health Insurance Marketplace and the individual market more broadly became less stable in 2017 as some high-profile insurers exited the market and others increased rates. Premiums for the “benchmark” plan (the second-lowest cost silver plan) in the Marketplace increased 11.7 percent in 2017 in Texas and 21.3 percent nationally. Studies have pointed to […]

Looking at Medicaid in the 2018-2019 Texas Budget

Anne Dunkelberg

The Texas Senate and House of Representatives have agreed on a $217 billion 2018-2019 budget, officially named Senate Bill 1. Eva DeLuna Castro has a good overview of the whole budget. Let’s take a closer look at the funding for Medicaid. Total funding for Medicaid in 2018-2019 is $62.4 billion All Funds ($26.3 billion non-federal). […]

New Analysis of U.S. House Health Care Repeal Proves How Damaging It Would Be

Stacey Pogue

Today the independent Congressional Budget Office (CBO) released its “score” of the U.S. House-passed health care repeal bill. Earlier this month the House took the short-sighted and unusual step of voting to pass the “American Health Care Act” before the CBO scored it, and now we can see why. The score reveals terrible news that […]

Surprise Medical Billing Bill Signed Into Law

Stacey Pogue

Yesterday Gov. Abbott signed SB 507 into law, improving consumer protections related to surprise medical billing. Surprise out-of-network medical bills, sometimes called “balance bills,” happen when insurers and doctors fighting over prices jointly pass the buck to a patient who received out-of-network care unknowingly. The Texas Legislature has worked to address surprise medical bills consistently […]

Remembering the Bad Old Days of High-Risk Pools

Stacey Pogue

There seems to be a lot of nostalgia among lawmakers for “high-risk pools” these days. In the past, high-risk pools offered high-cost health insurance to people with pre-existing conditions who would have been denied standard coverage by insurers. First, the latest amendment to the federal health care repeal bill would let states gut coverage guarantees […]

ACA Repeal Scheme is Back with a New, Terrible Twist

Stacey Pogue

Media outlets are reporting that two members of Congress – the leaders of the far-right Freedom Caucus and the moderate Tuesday Group, both composed of Republican members—have agreed to an amendment for the stalled U.S. House’s Affordable Care Act (ACA, or Obamacare) repeal bill. The amendment would make a bad bill worse by gutting protections […]

New ACA Marketplace Rules, Good for Insurance Companies Bad for Consumers

Melissa McChesney

On April 13, 2017 the Department of Health and Human Services released its final “marketplace stabilization” rule. (You may remember that we blogged about the proposed rules when they were released in February.) Regardless of that title, the Marketplace showed signs of stabilization in 2016 under current law. The administration could have capitalized on that progress but instead these rules just fulfill […]

Eliminating SNAP’s Asset Test Helps Families Earn and Save

Rachel Cooper

The Texas Legislature recently heard testimony on HB 1533, to modify state rules for non-exempt resources and assets that determine household eligibilty for SNAP. This blog post lays out how removing the current asset test helps Texas families acheive financial stabilty. The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly known as the food stamp program, is […]

Administration, Congress Considering More Damaging New Twist on ACA Repeal: Texas Implications

Stacey Pogue

Media reports indicate that President Trump and Congressional Republicans are working to revive their bill to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA) with the same harmful provisions plus two new ones. States would be able to opt out of “essential health benefits” and the requirement that health plans not charge people more because they are […]

Medicaid Funding: Like Senate, House Committee Budget Raises Unanswered Questions

Anne Dunkelberg

The House Committee on Appropriations approved its budget proposal on March 29, and a floor vote by the full House is set for April 6. The bill will, as usual, undergo some additional amendments on the House floor. Let’s explore some key Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) provisions in the House Committee bill. […]