Payer Roundup—BCBSA urges funding for reinsurance; Britons hit back at Trump's universal healthcare tweet

stethoscope on money
The organization that represents Blues plans wants Congress to fund reinsurance. (Getty/Maudib)

BCBSA urges Congress to fund reinsurance

The Blue Cross Blue Shield Association, which licenses many of the plans that operate on the Affordable Care Act exchanges, says Congress must act quickly to stabilize those markets.

Justine Handelman, a senior vice president at the BCBSA, told reporters at a briefing Monday that the most important step lawmakers can take to offset the loss of the individual mandate is to fund reinsurance arrangements. The group pointed to data from the consulting firm Oliver Wyman, which show that providing $15 billion per year in reinsurance funding could lower silver plan premiums by 17% in 2019 relative to 2018.

Reinsurance funding is part of a bipartisan ACA stabilization bill in the Senate, and in the House, Rep. Ryan Costello is sponsoring a bill that would fund reinsurance and cost-sharing reduction payments. (The Hill)

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Anthem to boost contribution to employee 401(k) accounts

Anthem announced on Monday that it will funnel some of the extra money it will receive from the lower corporate tax rate to its employees’ retirement accounts.

The insurer said it will contribute $1,000 to the 401(k) accounts of each of its more than 58,000 associates and recent retirees—a decision that followed similar moves from insurers. Cigna, for example, said it will raise its minimum wage to $16 per hour and add $30 million to its 401(k) program, while Humana will raise its minimum wage to $15 and accelerate a performance-based incentive program.

“This new program is an opportunity for us to thank our associates and also ensure that they benefit from the recent changes to the U.S. tax code,” Anthem CEO Gail Boudreaux said. (Release)

Britons up in arms over Trump’s universal healthcare tweet

President Donald Trump stirred up controversy on Monday when he attacked the United Kingdom’s healthcare system in a tweet that also criticized Democrats’ support of universal healthcare.

Trump claimed that “thousands of people are marching in the U.K.” because their system is going broke and not working. “Dems want to greatly raise taxes to really bad and non-personal medical care. No thanks!” he added.

There were indeed protests in London over the weekend aimed at demanding better funding for the National Health Service. But Trump’s tweet also spurred many Britons to take to social media to defend their system—including the country’s health minister, Jeremy Hunt. (Los Angeles Times)

Big names in healthcare start ‘United States of Care’

A wide-ranging group of more than 50 healthcare leaders has launched a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization that aims to support policies that increase Americans’ access to quality, affordable healthcare.

Members in the group include Andy Slavitt, former acting administrator of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, Kaiser Permanente CEO Bernard Tyson, and Atul Gawande, M.D., a prominent surgeon at Brigham and Women's Hospital.

The group says it will focus on “bringing expertise to states and federal lawmakers to find economically and politically sustainable ideas,” as well as galvanizing support around policies that work for Americans and their families. (Release)

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