House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady (R-Texas) wants tougher rules to reclaim overpayments of health plan tax subsidies under the Affordable Care Act as part of a package to cut spending by $98 billion over 10 years. The move is part of an effort to help GOP leaders make progress in passing the House’s annual budget blueprint. GOP leaders such as Budget Committee Chairman Tom Price (R-Ga.) have floated the idea of $30 billion in spending cuts over the next two years as a way to build support for his broader budget plan. Those cuts would grow far larger over a decade.
A report from Republican staff of a Senate investigations subcommittee says HHS did not act on clear signs that several of the co-op health insurance plans created under the Affordable Care Act were failing. It said that despite the red flags, the agency continued to give loans to unstable programs. Of the 23 not-for-profit consumer-governed co-ops created under the ACA, 12 have failed and others have serious financial problems. The report, from the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, concluded that it is unlikely any of the $1.2 billion in federal loan money given to the co-ops will be recovered. Congressional Republicans have pummeled the co-op’s failings in prior hearings.
Marshfield (Wis.) Clinic Health System put off its plans to build a new hospital and instead struck a deal to buy a rival hospital. Marshfield Clinic announced a nonbinding agreement Friday for the purchase of Ministry St. Joseph’s Hospital in Marshfield from Ministry Health Care, a division of St. Louis-based Ascension Health. The plans put the brakes on Marshfield’s plans to build a hospital, which had gained city approval and was scheduled to open in 2018. “While we know the community will need an updated, state-of-the-art facility in the near future, acquiring St. Joseph’s offers new options that should be researched, evaluated and considered,” said Dr. Susan Turney,