THIS WEEK IN REVIEW: Monday, Feb. 19th – Friday, Feb. 23rd

THIS WEEK IN REVIEW: Monday, Feb. 19th – Friday, Feb. 23rd

Leading this week’s news are the details on the Trump administration’s latest proposal to bring back short-term insurance policies that can last up to 12 months rather than the current 3 month maximum. Short-term insurance plans are targeted towards those who are transitioning between healthcare policies and this proposal is hoping to increase access, competition, and access to lower-cost healthcare options for Americans. Senator Lamar Alexander (R-TN) was all in with the proposal when he made his statement soon after it was announced. He announced that it is the state’s “responsibility for making sure these policies benefit consumers”. On the flip side, Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) was quick to respond with the proposal with concerns of patients not getting the coverage they need with these “junk plans” and giving insurance companies the ability to increase profits by bypassing current ACA rules.

More recently, on Thursday, the Center for American Progress (CAP) produced a plan for universal healthcare called Medicare Extra. There have been several universal healthcare proposals before but what makes this plan differentiate from the others is that it keeps employer-based insurance as an option and Medicare Extra would just be another option.

Continuing with insurance but on the state level, there was news when top democrats in Idaho pressed the state insurance commissioner Dean Cameron on the new insurance plans that violate Obamacare requirements. Also regarding Obamacare, the Maryland General Assembly is weighing a bill that would require state residents to purchase health insurance much like the recently repealed individual mandate from the Affordable Care Act.

In state Medicaid news, Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin has countersued groups that have sued the state for issuing Medicaid work requirements. The Medicaid work requirement is predicted to be expensive, as Virginia Governor Ralph Northam released data showing the state would be on the hook for $100 million for the first two years if the requirement were issued.

In the drug space, some states are putting pressure on the federal government to allow drug importation from Canada. States are looking for options to save money on expensive drugs and some have advanced bills to allow importation from our northern neighbor.

The contentious debate on gun control stirs on, as Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) Alex Azar unexpectedly told Congress last week that he backs gun violence research at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). It is still unclear when or whether the research will begin – however, Democrats are are adamant about repealing a provision under current law that restricts CDC funds from being used to promote or advocate gun control.

While the left is busy advocating and pushing for gun control after the Parkland shooting tragedy on Thursday, Feb. 15., the National Rifle Association (NRA) is pushing back against law enforcement, media, and gun control advocates. NRA officials and enthusiasts are resisting the idea of raising the minimum age for purchasing rifles and shotguns, claiming that preventing law-abiding adults ages 18-20 from purchasing any firearm “deprives them of their constitutional right to self-protection.” After such a heartbreaking massacre, it is clear that both sides of the political spectrum will have to come together in creating a compromise on gun control to ensure the American public’s future overall health and safety.

Student Contributors on this Article:
Marissa Alvarez, Chad Fletcher, Shaina Haque, Virginia Wright