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Word From Washington

Word From Washington: Patient groups warn that Administration policy encourages discrimination in health care

June 16, 2020

HFA joined with twenty-eight other patient and health advocacy groups to issue the following statement 聽regarding a final rule released by the U.S. Office of Civil Rights/HHS on Friday, June 12th. The rule, interpreting anti-discrimination provisions of the Affordable Care Act, removes explicit patient protections against discrimination by health care providers and insurers. The groups鈥 […]

Word From Washington: HFA Joins With Patient Groups to Urge Supreme Court to Uphold Health Care Law

May 13, 2020

Patient and health advocacy groups representing millions of Americans with pre-existing conditions filed an聽amicus curiae or friend of the court brief urging the U.S. Supreme Court to uphold the Affordable Care Act in the case of聽California v. Texas (previously Texas v. United States). The case is on appeal from lower court decisions invalidating (in whole […]

Word From Washington: HHS Finalizes Rule Allowing Insurers to Exclude Copay Assistance

May 8, 2020

Late yesterday, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services finalized a rule that affects individuals who rely on patient copay assistance programs. The HHS rule (the 鈥2021 Notice of Benefits and Payment Parameters,鈥 or NBPP) allows health insurers to continue using accumulator adjusters. This means that a health insurer can exclude manufacturer copay assistance […]

Word From Washington: Pandemic Unemployment Compensation, Supplement Security Income & Medicaid

April 14, 2020

HFA has received several questions regarding whether the enhanced unemployment benefits that the federal government provides during the聽national coronavirus emergency could adversely impact people who have Medicaid coverage by virtue of the fact that they receive disability benefits under the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program. SSI recipients are allowed to work in limited situations.聽 If […]

Patient Groups Applaud Supreme Court鈥檚 Decision to Take Up Health Care Case

March 2, 2020

On March 2, 2020, the U.S. Supreme Court announced that it will hear an appeal from the Fifth Circuit ruling in Texas v. United States, a case challenging the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act. In earlier phases of that litigation, a federal district court and an appellate court had ruled that the ACA鈥檚 individual […]

Word From Washington: Patient Groups Urge Supreme Court to Swiftly Take Up Health Care Case

January 16, 2020

Patient and health advocacy groups representing millions of Americans with pre-existing conditions filed an amicus curiae or friend of the court brief urging the U.S. Supreme Court to immediately take up the case of Texas v. United States. The case is the latest court challenge to the health care law known as the Affordable Care […]

Word From Washington: 聽24 Patient Groups Endorse Expedited Supreme Court Review of Affordable Care Act Case聽

January 3, 2020

Twenty-four organizations representing millions of patients strongly support the petitions filed today by state attorneys general and by the U.S. House of Representatives that seek expedited U.S. Supreme Court review of last month鈥檚 Texas v. United States ruling.聽 The coalition issued the following statement:聽 鈥淥ur organizations, representing millions of individuals and families affected by chronic […]

Word From Washington: December 18, 2019 Ruling in Texas v. United States, Update #2

December 20, 2019

Last Wednesday evening, the U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals issued a ruling in Texas v. United States, a case challenging the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act. The bleeding disorders community has been anxiously awaiting this pivotal court decision. HFA staff want to update you on what is known at this point. The 5th […]

Word From Washington: December 18, 2019 Ruling in Texas v United States

December 18, 2019

Patient advocacy groups representing millions of Americans with serious health conditions decried a December 18th聽ruling from the Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals in Texas v. United States, a case concerning the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act. The Fifth Circuit ruling strikes down the ACA鈥檚 individual mandate and sends the case back to the […]

Word From Washington: Surprise Medical Billing & SC Medicaid Work Requirements

December 13, 2019

HFA joined with other national patient and consumer groups to issue a number of statements on important health policy topics this week. HFA and 26 other national groups applauded news of a bipartisan agreement on surprise medical billing聽between the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions and the House Committee on Energy and Commerce […]

Word From Washington: Patient Groups Release Statement on New Public Charge Rule

August 13, 2019

Patient groups representing millions of Americans with serious health conditions voiced strong concern about a U.S. Department of Homeland Security final rule released on August 12, 2019. The new rule directs DHS to broadly expand the 鈥減ublic charge鈥 evaluation 鈥 which aims to determine whether an individual is likely to become dependent on the government […]

Word From Washington: District Court Upholds Rule about Short-Term Limited Health Plans

July 19, 2019

District Court Ruling Upholding Short-Term Health Insurance Rule聽Could Make Comprehensive Coverage Unaffordable; Leave Many Uncovered Patient groups representing millions of Americans with serious health conditions are voicing concern about access to affordable, comprehensive health coverage after U.S. District Court Judge Richard Leon today upheld an administration rule expanding access to short-term limited-duration (STLD) health plans. […]

Word From Washington: HFA Signs On to Letter Opposing Medicaid Block Grants

July 18, 2019

Patient Groups Express Strong Opposition to Medicaid Block Grants Proposals for Block Grants or Per Capita Caps in Medicaid Would Harm Patients with Serious and Chronic Health Conditions Today, 27 patient groups submitted a letter to Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) Administrator Seema Verma expressing strong opposition to policies that would allow states […]

Word From Washington: CMS Drops Proposal to Allow Medicare Plans to Limit Coverage of “Protected Class” Drugs

May 17, 2019

  The U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) released a final rule yesterday on drug pricing in the Medicare Advantage and Medicare Part D programs. In its final rule, CMS chose not聽to implement a harmful change that it had initially put forward 鈥 a change strongly opposed by HFA and numerous other patient […]

Word From Washington: HFA, Others, Urge For ACA Be Upheld

April 1, 2019

17 Patient Groups Urge Appeals Court to Uphold Health Care Law Loss of Patient Protections Would Raise Barriers to Health Insurance HFA joined a group of seventeen patient advocacy organizations in filing an amicus curiae (“friend of the court”) brief today in case of Texas v. United States, pending in the U.S. Court of Appeals […]

Word From Washington: Government Shutdown Gets Reprieve

January 25, 2019

President Trump announced today that he would sign a bill funding the government through February 15th聽and ending the 5-week long government shutdown. The President said he will continue to negotiate with Congress on border security issues over the next three weeks but held out the possibility that the government could shut down again if there […]

Word From Washington: Partial Federal Government Shutdown

December 22, 2018

Congress and the President failed to reach agreement on a government spending bill before the deadline of December 21, 2018. As a result, number of U.S. government agencies have halted work and will remain shut down until a deal is reached. In contrast to some earlier budget standoffs, though, this time approximately 戮 of the […]

Word From Washington: December 14, 2018 Ruling in TX V. Azar, Update #2

December 17, 2018

Last Friday evening, we learned that a federal judge had ruled in the case of Texas v. Azar聽that the Affordable Care Act is unconstitutional in its entirety. This news has alarmed many. HFA staff want to update you on what we know at this point. First and foremost, please be aware that this ruling does […]

Word From Washington: December 14, 2018 Ruling in TX v. Azar

December 14, 2018

HFA learned late Friday night that a federal court has struck down the entire Affordable Care Act as unconstitutional. You can find an explanation of聽the lawsuit (Texas v. Azar) here and can read a description of the latest ruling here. HFA is studying the ruling and will post a more detailed update soon. In the […]

Word from Washington: HFA Joins Amicus Brief in Legal Challenge to Short-Term Health Insurance Rule

October 8, 2018

As we鈥檝e previously reported, several lawsuits are currently pending in federal courts concerning aspects of the Affordable Care Act. One lawsuit questions whether the ACA is still valid, despite the elimination of the individual mandate penalty; other cases take an opposite tack, challenging recent Administration actions and rulemakings as inconsistent with the ACA. Today, HFA […]

Word from Washington: Association Health Plans Infographic

August 23, 2018

The Trump Administration issued a final rule on June 19, 2018 expanding association health plans. The rule鈥檚 stated aim is to 鈥渉elp Americans struggling to afford health coverage find new, more affordable options.鈥 You can read more about the rule聽here. HFA and many other patient advocacy groups think the final rule takes the wrong tack.聽Association […]

Word from Washington: Short Term Health Plans Infographic

August 15, 2018

On August 1, 2018, the Trump Administration issued a final rule expanding the scope of short-term, limited duration health plans. The rule鈥檚 stated aim is to 鈥渉elp Americans struggling to afford health coverage find new, more affordable options.鈥 You can read more about the rule here. HFA and many other patient advocacy groups think the […]

Word from Washington: New Rules on Short-term Insurance

August 2, 2018

New federal rules, released Aug. 1, roll back limits on short-term health plans. Short-term plans are primarily designed to bridge gaps in coverage that can occur, e.g., when an individual is transitioning between jobs. As such, these plans don鈥檛 have to meet Affordable Care Act standards. They can deny coverage and/or can charge higher premiums […]

Word From Washington: Latest Affordable Care Act Developments

July 12, 2018

The past week has seen a flurry of news on the ACA front. We鈥檝e summarized some of the latest developments for you here. On July 10, the US Centers for Medicare and Medicaid announced it will further聽reduce funding for navigators.聽Navigators are individuals or organizations that are trained to help Americans buy insurance in the ACA […]

Word From Washington: New Challenges to ACA

June 11, 2018

  Earlier this year, Texas together with 19 other states (鈥減laintiffs鈥) filed a聽lawsuit聽challenging the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The US Department of Justice (DOJ) 鈥 which normally defends federal laws against such challenges 鈥 unexpectedly chose to side with the plaintiffs when it filed its聽brief聽on June 7th.聽The DOJ argued that key ACA […]


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