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In this week’s HealthCare.com News Roundup: Mitch McConnell defends all-male Senate committee working on healthcare bill, Blue Cross Blue Shield partners with Lyft to provide reliable healthcare transportation, and others.
Happy Friday! While this week hasn’t been as hectic as last week’s American Health Care Act (AHCA) hyperactivity, there’s still plenty of healthcare news out there to pay attention to. With AHCA passing in the House (finally), attention has shifted to those in the Senate to determine whether the House’s health bill succeeds (it’s looking unlikely). A new Quinnipiac poll shows an increase in American approval of the House bill – up to 21 percent from the initial 17 percent per the last Quinnipiac poll – but that increased confidence hasn’t been reflected in some healthcare companies.
Take a look at this week’s HealthCare.com News Roundup and see what you may have missed.
1. Student Launches Initiative Allowing You to Mail Your Ashes to Representatives Who Voted for AHCA
In response to the AHCA bill and an Idaho congressman’s assertion that “nobody dies because they don’t have access to healthcare,” Zoey Jordan Salsbury, a student at American University, has created a website for Americans who would like to mail their ashes to members of Congress who voted for the healthcare bill. Before signing up for the cremation services and shipping offered by MailMetotheGOP.com, do keep in mind that the AHCA has yet to pass the Senate (and may never do that), so consider making a call to your senator before you mail your remains to his or her colleagues.
Of course, if mailing your cremated remains to the federal government is too macabre for your taste, the Democratic Socialists of America have created this online tool to help you pick out the coffin of your dreams.
2. Blue Cross Blue Shied Partners with Lyft
Blue Cross Blue Shield Association and Lyft are teaming up to improve healthcare access in communities that lack reliable transportation options. By launching their nationwide partnership, BCBS and Lyft want to make healthcare more accessible for patients who lack easy access public transportation, or safe walking and biking routes. In a statement announcing the partnership, Dr. Trent Haywood, BCBSA chief medical officer and president of the BCBS Institute, said BCBS is “committed to addressing issues like transportation that are inextricably linked to health outcomes, yet can’t be tackled through health care resources alone.”
3. Mitch McConnell Defends All-Male Senate Committee on Healthcare Bill
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell defended his decision to include only men in the Republicans’ working group he organized to draft a new GOP healthcare bill. McConnell’s decision not to include Maine Sen. Susan Collins, who heads the committee on aging, nor Louisiana Sen. Bill Cassidy, a physician and public health expert, raises many concerns. Also, the optics of forming an all-male, all-white panel to draft policy on reproductive and maternity care look particularly out of touch.
4. Aetna Withdraws from Delaware and Nebraska Marketplace
Aetna announced its plans to withdraw from all Obamacare insurance marketplaces in 2018. While Aetna’s decision is likely to attract political attention, the move affects just two states: Delaware and Nebraska. Aetna’s departure underscores the fact that Obamacare markets are becoming more and more vulnerable as major health insurers stop offering insurance plans through the exchanges. Wellmark’s recent departure from Iowa’s individual marketplace has put the state in an unusual quandary. Insurers are reluctant to participate in Iowa’s state exchange due to one state resident whose care costs $1 million a month.
The Atlantic has published an article which examines why so many insurance companies are withdrawing from Obamacare state insurance marketplaces.
5. Avia Hires Former CMS Acting Administrator Under Obama Administration
Chicago healthcare company Avia has hired Andy Slavitt, a former high-ranking government health care official who oversaw Medicare and Medicaid under President Barack Obama. Slavitt was instrumental in the creation of Obamacare.