White House Warns Of COVID Surges In The Winter

White House warns of Covid surges in the winter - POLITICO

Source: Politico, by Hannah Farrow

Covid cases surged during the last two winters and are likely to again this year — unless the country can prepare and act, White House Covid-19 response coordinator Ashish Jha said Sunday morning.

“If we don’t get ahead of this thing, we’ll have a lot of waning immunity, this virus continues to evolve and we may see a pretty sizable wave of infections, hospitalizations and deaths this fall and winter,” Jha said on ABC’s “This Week.”

Congress needs to provide resources, Jha said, specifically $22.5 billion, a number that will help with a vaccine supply that’s dwindling. In March, White House Coronavirus Response Coordinator Jeff Zients said: “If the science shows that fourth doses are needed for the general population later this year, we will not have the supply necessary to ensure shots are available.”

The money, once allocated, would go toward Covid vaccine supply and coronavirus testing.

“If Congress doesn’t step up and fund these, I think, urgent and emergent priorities … they can’t wait until the fall, it will be too late,” Jha said.

And the proof is in the jab. With cases increasing in the Northeast, deaths remain low because of high vaccination rates.

“That’s not true for the whole country,” Jha said.

With enough resources to get more people vaccinated and more therapeutics in place, he said, “I do think we can get through this winter without a lot of suffering and death.”

AHIP Warns Proposed ACA Exchange Rule Could Threaten Market’s Growing Stability

AHIP warns proposed ACA exchange rule could threaten market's growing  stability | Fierce HealthcareSource: Fierce Healthcare, by Paige Minemyer

AHIP, the top lobbying organization for commercial insurers, is warning the feds that provisions in its proposed rule governing the Affordable Care Act’s exchanges for 2023 could “undermine” the growing stability there.

For instance, the group says in comments (PDF) submitted late Thursday that potential changes to requirements for essential health benefits would limit the ability for insurers to manage costs, particularly for prescription drugs, and manage chronic illnesses.

In addition, AHIP said that a proposed requirement for insurers to offer standardized plan options on the exchanges would “stifle innovation” and includes provisions that would be hard for payers to roll out, such as common drug formulary designs.

 
 

Instead, AHIP suggests that the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services deploy an approach in which payers are required to offer one standardized silver plan option for 2023, and then gather enrollment data to see if the plan designs are meeting consumer needs.

“The continued stability and growth of the ACA marketplaces is also due in large part to policies that have promoted a stable regulatory environment, increased competition, and enabled issuers to offer innovative products that consumers want and need,” AHIP said. “However, we are concerned that some of the policies proposed in this Payment Notice may take large steps backward, undermining this hard-won stability and significantly limiting innovation and competition.”

 

CMS said earlier Thursday that the final tally for ACA open enrollment was 14.5 million, a record. The market had been improving for some time, luring big-name insurers such as UnitedHealthcare and Aetna back in, but the Biden administration’s temporary expansion of premium tax credits has led enrollment to skyrocket.

In the rule, CMS also proposes mandating network adequacy reviews for plans offered on the federal exchange, Healthcare.gov.

AHIP said proposed network adequacy standards could make it harder for payers to design innovative plans, lead to higher premiums and place an undue burden on both payers and providers.

“If finalized, we recommend network adequacy standards be deferred to plan year 2024 to provide time to address these outstanding issues and allow issuers the time to change to their networks,” the group said.

 

The organization is urging CMS to extend the comment window on the rule to allow additional time for feedback on its proposals.

FTC issues warning about health insurance scam

 

The Federal Trade Commission is advising people to hang up on robocalls that threaten a fine for not having health insurance. The calls direct the recipient to someone who claims to be enforcing the health insurance law and attempts to glean the consumer’s full name, birth date, Social Security number and income. WRIC-TV (Richmond, Va.)/Federal Trade Commission (2/18)

Last Updated 05/25/2022

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