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July 11, 2017 – July 24, 2017

The purpose of this bulletin is to compile a handful of articles relating to health care coverage in the United States that are most pertinent to LIUNA and its health and welfare funds. We hope you find this biweekly bulletin helpful and informative.

With So Many Obamacare Repeal Options In Play, Confusion Reigns
On Thursday, the Senate unleashed yet another iteration of its effort to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, and with it came another analysis from the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office.

Parliamentarian rules against key provisions in Obamacare repeal bill
Several key provisions in the Senate's Obamacare repeal and replace bill, including language targeting Planned Parenthood, may have to be stripped or could be eliminated on the Senate floor by Democrats because they don't comply with budget rules, according to Democrats on the Senate Budget Committee.

GOP Health Bill’s $13,000 Deductibles Would Be Illegal, CBO Says
The Senate Republican health bill promises lower premiums for consumers. To get there, it would require patients in standard plans to spend as much as about $13,000 upfront on their own care.

GOP Leaders Plan Tuesday Health Vote, It’s an Uphill Climb
Republican leaders pushed toward a Senate vote next Tuesday on resurrecting their nearly flat-lined health care bill. Their uphill drive was further complicated by the ailing GOP Sen. John McCain’s potential absence and a dreary report envisioning that the number of uninsured Americans would soar.

More reason for rejecting GOP health bill than reviving it
There are many reasons why the Senate will probably reject Republicans’ crowning bill razing much of former President Barack Obama’s health care law. There are fewer why Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell might revive it and avert a GOP humiliation.

Digital Health Hope: Telemedicine and Increasing Access to Care
Telemedicine—which can be strictly defined as a remote virtual doctor-patient interaction—is rapidly gaining popularity. When initially developed, telemedicine was designed to allow health care professionals to evaluate, diagnose and treat patients in remote and rural locations using telecommunications technology. Now, many are beginning to utilize telemedicine as a replacement for the traditional doctor visit even when they are located in a city or town with many brick and mortar offices. 

STATES IN THE NEWS

Alaska Would Score a Sweet Deal in Proposed Health Care Bill
One of the provisions in the latest version of the Senate Republicans’ health care bill appears to benefit only the state of Alaska. And to the tune of $2 billion in federal money.

In an arid, lonely stretch out west, the health coverage that bloomed is now at risk
In this speck of high desert, along a stretch of highway that Life magazine once called the loneliest road in America, the only doctor in town comes just one day a week. In the past few years, though, health insurance has arrived in force.

Health insurers seek double-digit rate increases in Washington state — despite billion-dollar reserves
Pat Kinnaird of Kenmore was furious when she got a letter saying her longtime health insurer, Regence Blue Shield, decided not to offer coverage in King County next year, citing uncertainty in the market. At the same time Regence is abandoning customers in Washington’s market for individual insurance, it is seeking rate increases in the state averaging 30 percent next year.