This happened last week but I was preoccupied with some personal issues and never got around to posting about it. The news is widespread by now but important enough that I figured I should at least give it a mention anyway.

Via the New York Times a few days ago:

The Supreme Court issued a decision on Friday evening that maintained the Food and Drug Administration’s approval of a commonly used abortion pill while an appeal moves forward, the latest development in a fast-moving legal battle that followed a lower court’s ruling that ordered the drug pulled off the market.

Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr. had paused the lower court’s ruling on the pill, mifepristone, but that freeze had been set to expire at midnight. The justices issued their decision about five hours before the deadline.

via NY State of Health:

  • Since March 2020, Aligned with Federal Continuous Coverage Requirements, Enrollment in NY State of Health Programs has Grown by 41 Percent
  • As the Post-Public Health Emergency Redetermination Process Begins, State Has Deployed Multi-pronged Strategy to Maximize Number of Consumers who Maintain Coverage

ALBANY, N.Y. (April 20, 2023) – NY State of Health, the state’s official health plan Marketplace, today released the 2023 Health Insurance Coverage Update, a detailed summary of NY State of Health enrollment, including demographics, quality measures, and the cost savings realized by millions of New Yorkers who have comprehensive health insurance through the Marketplace.  As of January 31, 2023, NY State of Health enrollment is nearly 6.9 million, or more than one in three New Yorkers across the state.

Read the Marketplace’s 2023 Health Insurance Coverage Update here.

via the Maine Dept. of Health & Human Services:

Individuals losing eligibility for MaineCare can enroll in plans on through July 31, 2024

AUGUSTA— The Maine Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) announced today the launch of a Special Enrollment Period (SEP) through, Maine’s Health Insurance Marketplace, to help Maine people transitioning from MaineCare coverage after the COVID-19 pandemic explore affordable health insurance options and avoid gaps in coverage. The Special Enrollment Period began on April 15, 2023, and will continue through July 31, 2024, allowing Maine individuals found no longer eligible for MaineCare to apply for plans through outside of the annual Open Enrollment Period.

As I've written about several times, last month New Mexico passed (and Gov. Lujan Grisham signed) the first "true" Public Option bill, which will allow any permanent New Mexico resident to enroll in Medicaid regardless of income via a sliding premium scale. Today there's big Public Option news in another state: Minnesota.

The main distinction between the New Mexico and Minnesota approaches has to do with which existing publicly-funded healthcare program they're based on. While New Mexico went with Medicaid (which half the state's population is already enrolled in anyway), Minnesota is basing theirs on their Basic Health Plan program, MinnesotaCare. I first wrote about this back in February.

As Louise Norris explained:


October 2022:

Texas: Friday Health Plans Bails; Another ~230K Enrollees Will Have To Pick A Different Day Of The Week

It was just four days ago that Bright Healthcare, which had been aggressively expanding their individual market coverage area footprint as recently as a year ago, suddenly announced that they were doing a complete 180 and instead pulling out of virtually the entire individual & small group markets nationally starting in January 2023.

...Well, just one day after the Bright Healthcare bombshell news broke, Texas-based health insurance broker Jenny Chumbley Hogue sounded the alarm on another large carrier bailing on Texas next year:

via the White House website:

Last night, the Fifth Circuit issued a decision which invalidates the scientific, independent judgment of the FDA about when and how a medicine is available to Americans. The Justice Department has already announced that they are seeking emergency relief from the Supreme Court.
More than 20 years ago, the FDA approved medication abortion as safe and effective for the American people. Last week, a Texas district court ruled to block access to this medication in every state in the country.
The Fifth Circuit’s decision—just like the district court’s—second-guesses the agency’s medical experts. If this decision stands, no medication—from chemotherapy drugs, to asthma medicine, to blood pressure pills, to insulin—would be safe from attacks. This decision threatens the rights of Americans across the country, who can look in their medicine cabinets and find medication prescribed by a doctor because the FDA engaged in a process to determine the efficacy and safety of that medication.

Last August, Ben D'Avanzo of the National Immigration Law Center wrote a guest post here at ACA Signups about the 23% of uninsured Americans who are immigrants, and the challenges in providing healthcare coverage for them. In it, he noted that:

...given the slow nature of congressional action, the Biden administration can take some important steps now. For example, HHS could make hundreds of thousands of DACA recipients eligible for ACA coverage through regulatory action. It could also build on its existing investment in outreach and assistance programs to fund more Navigators and other community organizations that are best suited for immigrant-focused enrollment work.

via the Doctors for America website:

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Doctors for America and the Reproductive Health Coalition have filed a new amicus brief in support of FDA’s approval of the use of mifepristone to end pregnancy through ten weeks gestation.  

The brief, filed in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, is in response to the decision made last week by Judge Kacsmaryk in the case of Alliance for Hippocratic Medicine vs. U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), in which Judge Kacsmaryk ordered the FDA to stay the approval of mifepristone. Both Doctors for America (DFA) and the Reproductive Health Coalition (RHC) are deeply concerned that the decision made by Judge Kacsmaryk is not based on medical science, nor the robust data available. Mifepristone is a medication that has been safely used by physicians and patients for over 20 years, with research showing that adverse events and outcomes are exceedingly rare, occurring in less than a fraction of 1% of cases. 

Hmmm...this is a bit odd. Every month for years now, the Centers for Medicare & Medicare Services (CMS) has published a monthly press release with a breakout of total Medicare, Medicaid & CHIP enrollment; the most recent one was posted in late February, and ran through November 2022.

For the December update, however, they haven't sent out the normal press release; instead, they included a brief note leading to a Medicaid/CHIP data slideshow which I summarized yesterday, along with another note leading to their new Medicare Monthly Enrollment database.

In any event, according to the spreadsheet I exported, as of December 2022:

Yesterday I noted that the Maryland legislature, which has had an excellent record on healthcare reform policy in recent years, had a rare misstep when they took a pass on allowing undocumented immigrants to enroll in the states ACA exchange. While the lack of federal subsidy eligibility would have severely limited the number of undocumented Maryland residents who would be able to utilize this path towards healthcare, it was still a missed opportunity.

Today, however, I can report that the MD legislature has passed several other bills which move things in the right direction. Via Rob Flaks of WMDT:

With just days left in the General Assembly session, Maryland lawmakers have passed a series of bills aimed at expanding healthcare access and combating costs across the state.