Payer Roundup—Medicare Advantage thriving under ACA; KFF says support for 'Medicare for All' gains steam with voters

Health insurance, pen and stethoscope
A new Kaiser Family Foundation poll suggests support for a "Medicare for all" program is on the rise, plus more health insurance headlines. (Getty/Minerva Studio)

Report: Despite concerns, Medicare Advantage thriving under ACA 

Some health insurance analysts worried that revamped Medicare Advantage payment rates under the Affordable Care Act could harm these plans long-term. However, MA plans are instead thriving, with strong enrollment and financial performance, according to a report from Deloitte. Smaller MA insurers, though, do still face challenges, and have faced much higher losses than their larger counterparts—though this trend is changing over time. (Analysis

Rural areas would benefit from access to air ambulances—but insurance coverage is a major barrier 

Many Americans living in remote areas struggle to access healthcare and expanding the use of air ambulances could ease that problem, experts say. However, these services are expensive, and Medicare and Medicaid, along with some private payers, only cover a fraction of those costs. A bill introduced in Congress last year seeks to update Medicare payment rates to address this challenge. (FierceHealthcare

KFF poll: More than half of Americans favor a 'Medicare for all' system 

The latest Kaiser Family Foundation tracking poll suggests that support for a single-payer "Medicare for all" program, as advocated by Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, is gaining steam. The poll found that 59% of 1,212 respondents back the plan, including a majority of those identifying as a Democrat or independent and a third of Republicans. (Poll

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Trump may fire VA Secretary David Shulkin: reports 

President Donald Trump may fire Department of Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin as early as this week, according to reports from multiple national media outlets. Shulkin has been under fire over the past several weeks after a VA Office of Inspector General report found that he spent more than $122,000 in taxpayer money on a recent trip to Europe. Despite the reports, a White House spokesperson said Trump has confidence in Shulkin. (FierceHealthcare

Costs related to drug-resistant infections top $2B per year 

A new study estimates that costs associated with antibiotic-resistant infections are well over $2 billion per year. Drug resistance increases the costs per patient by $1,000, and the number of these superbug infections has been on the rise, jumping from about 5% of infections in 2002 to 11% in 2014. (FierceHealthcare

Colorado Senate mulls Medicaid work requirements 

Colorado's Senate may add work requirements to its Medicaid program, though advocates warn that could lead to hundreds of thousands of people in the state losing their insurance coverage. A number of other states have taken similar steps after the Department of Health and Human Services issued a rule that would allow states to test work requirements. (Public News Service

Medicaid dispute threatens Mississippi budget talks 

Members of Mississippi's state House want to see changes to its Medicaid program and are threatening to block approval of the state's budget if the Senate doesn't agree. Among the proposals the House wants to see is a second bidding period for a hospital group to assist in running the state's Medicaid managed care plans. (Associated Press

Sendero to withdraw from Texas Medicaid, CHIP program 

Sendero Health Plans, a nonprofit health management organization, will leave Texas' Medicaid program and the state Children's Health Insurance Program on May 1. The payer says steep losses—a projected $800,000 per month—led to the withdrawal. (Austin American-Statesman