Payer Roundup—Baldwin introduces bill to overturn AHP rule; DOJ wants new judge in work requirements case

Baldwin introduces bill to invalidate association plan rule

Senator Tammy Baldwin, D-Wis., introduced a joint resolution on Wednesday that would overturn the Trump administration’s rule expanding association health plans. The bill, which has 30 co-sponsors, says the rule “shall have no force or effect.”

The plans “could increase costs and reduce access to quality coverage for millions, force premium increases on older Americans, and harm people with pre-existing conditions,” Baldwin wrote on her website. She linked to an analysis from the Los Angeles Times that found 98% of healthcare groups that commented on the proposed rule criticized it. (Release)  

DOJ attorneys request different judge in Arkansas work requirement case

Attorneys for the Department of Justice (DOJ) do not want U.S. District Judge James Boasberg to preside over the case about Medicaid work requirements in Arkansas. Boasberg presided over the Kentucky work requirements case, ultimately ruling the state failed to consider how the policy would impact beneficiaries.

Per federal court rules, Boasberg could ask a committee to determine whether the cases are related. If the committee says they are not related, it could select another judge; if it says they are, it could send the case back to Boasberg.

DOJ attorneys say two cases cannot be considered related because just because they involve the same arguments. Attorneys for the plaintiff say the cases are related because they involve “common issues of fact" and "[grow] out of the same event or transaction." (Arkansas Democrat-Gazette link)

Anthem BCBS and MU bring EPO to two more Missouri cities

Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield and University of Missouri (MU) Health Care will bring the Exclusive Provider Organization group plan to the Columbia and Jefferson City markets in 2019, the companies announced on Wednesday.

With this plan, “consumers can expect lower out-of-pocket costs and a robust technology platform for sharing clinical data, including an integrated electronic medical record,” according to the press release.

The plan’s network includes the 6,000-plus physicians, nurses and other healthcare professionals of the MU Health Care system. It is currently available in St. Louis and the southwest part of the state. (Release)

Center for American Progress tool lets users track state steps to protect ACA

A new tool from the Center for American Progress (CAP) outlines how many states have proactively taken steps to uphold the Affordable Care Act. These actions include three categories: Enacting a state-level individual mandate, creating a reinsurance program and banning short-term plans.

New Jersey currently leads the way in this respect, having taken all three of those actions. Five states—Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Oregon and Vermont—have taken two. Nine states and D.C. have taken one, and the remaining 35 have taken zero. (CAP link)