Members of Congress will begin moving forward today with efforts to pass the American Health Care Act, a proposal to replace many of the major provisions of the Affordable Care Act, the health law commonly known as Obamacare.
House Republicans say their plan will provide relief to those burdened by higher taxes, increased premiums and limited insurance options as a result of Obamacare.
By Mitchell Young
WASHINGTON: Aetna [NYSE: AET] and Cigna [NYSE:CI] have watched their huge mergers collapse this month under the weight of lawsuits brought by the Obama administration.
The Justice Department won a first round legal ruling against the Anthem [NYSE: ANTM] Cigna deal and Cigna said enough is enough. Anthem said no way, and now the would be couple are talking trash and in court.
Cigna CEO David Cordani was among the health insurance executives that met with the President. Cigna and Anthem are suing the hell out of each other, over their busted deal, both sides are claiming the other guy wanted to scuttle the merger. Some recent reports say that with a new administration, Cigna, Anthem's merger could be resurrected.
Health insurance CEOs met with President Trump on February 28 and are hoping for a friendlier environment for consolidations.The mergers between Aetna and Atlanta based, Humana [NYSE: HUM] and Cigna with Anthem were first expected to go forward, a political backlash ensued and the Justice Department sued to prevent the mergers.
The US District Court in Washington DC, sided with the Justice Department in a ruling in January against the Aetna / Humana merger. The court action was enough fighting for Aetna, who called off the deal, in spite of having to pony up a billion dollars to Humana as a breakup fee.
Aetna CEO Mark Bertolini was once seen as among America's most liberal big company CEOs, as he criscrossed the country arguing for higher wages - $16 in big corporations. Alas, the healthcare titan has learned that "no good deed goes unpunished." Bertolini has been excoriated on social media and in the courts over statments he made about the ACA Healthcare Exchanges. Aetna was accused of threatening to ditch participation in the ACA Exchanges if the Feds didn’t approve Aetna’s merger with Humana. Bertonlini insisted his comments were taken out of context, and said Aetna was losing too much money on the Exchanges and needed the merger for scale. in order to stick with the Health Care Exchanges. He also has said the ACA Exchanges were in a “death spiral,” that could win him big points with the President.
|Aetna CEO, Mark Bertolini , will he take his football to Boston?|
In Connecticut only two insurers still sell health insurance on Connecticut’s Exchange, ConnectiCare and Anthem. ConnectiCare announced they were pulling out of the Exchange in September and then backtracked after a meeting with state officials. Connecticut industry sources have told us, that the State is potentially showing forbearance on ConnectiCare’s finances to keep them in the Exchange.
Connecticut regulators did shut down Healthy CT a Healthcare Insurer provided with $70 million as part of the Obama Adminstrations attempt to create more competition among insurers., HealthyCT like ConnectiCare was popular on the Exchange, but they were overtaken by underwriting loses.
Neither Senator Chris Murphy nor Senator Richard Blumenthal both Democrats supported Aetna or Cigna's merger plans. Murphy said he didn’t “oppose” the merger, but was focused only on Connecticut jobs. Blumenthal demanded the Justice Department stop the mergers.
Aetna has been reportedly looking at office space to move their headquarters to Boston, in what very well could be payback for the a lack of support from Connecticut’s Democratic delegation with the Obama Admiistration
BRIDGEPORT: A report late Thursday, February 23 in the Connecticut Post revealed that management at Bridgeport’s St. Vincent's Hospital has told employees that a merger or sale of the hospital was possible.
No official actions have been filed with the state, but employees were given a heads up last week at employee, management “town hall” meetings.
According to the Post, Dianne Auger, senior vice president and chief strategy officer at the hospital and president and CEO of the St. Vincent’s Medical Center Foundation, told employees, “we are exploring a variety of strategic options for St. Vincent’s.”
The St. Vincent's Medical Center is a 473-bed acute care Catholic hospital in Bridgeport, and with 3,700 hundred employees, it is the city’s largest employer.
New Haven’s former Catholic Hospital, Saint Raphael’s was purchased by the Yale New Haven Health System in 2012. The Yale system owns the 425 bed 2,300 employee Bridgeport Hospital.
By, Mitchell Young
NEW HAVEN: When a company reports organic revenue growth of 18.6% year over year, hats typically get tipped to the company, all over Wall Street.
New Haven’s Alexion Pharmaceuticals [ NASDAQ: ALXN] did just that and more, its fourth quarter income was up substantially, from $67 million to $93 million. That’s real money, in anyone’s book, but there remain Alexion doubters still.
Only a couple of months back the company parted ways with its CEO David Hallal and CFO Vikhas Sinha and installed an interim CEO, David Brennan a board member and former CEO of Astra Zeneca.
Inbox Health a Connecticut start up says they can help health care providers, from very small practices to large health care systems better control their patient billing, insurance management and the patient office experience. Inbox provide a HIPPA compliant software system and online portal that can be utilized even at very low costs. The company provide a three users model for as little as $79 per month and even has a pay as you go model for smaller practices.
Currently located in Bridgeport, the company is getting ready to move to New Haven in early Spring. Inbox has raised $2.5 million of capital including a recent seed round of $1.5 million. The new investment was led by Connecticut Innovations [CII] which had invested in a still earlier seed stage and a diverse group of seed investors.
|Hartford HealthCare CEO Elliot Joseph: "this will raise the cost of health care for all our state’s residents and businesses.”|
HARTFORD: Gov. Dannel P. Malloy is proposing that cities and towns be allowed to levy a property tax on nonprofit hospitals, and would offset their liabilities with new state and federal funding. But hospitals blasted the concept, calling it “a dangerous precedent.”
The governor’s plan also would cut an $11.8 million fund that has provided money to small, independent hospitals. And it would restore the administration’s ability to unilaterally cut more than $120 million in funding to hospitals if the state faces a budget shortfall.
The Yale New Haven Health System, which includes four nonprofit hospitals in Connecticut, cited “grave concerns” about the property tax proposal, while the Connecticut Hospital Association [CHA] called it “a direct attack on the fabric of our communities.” Hartford HealthCare, the parent company of five nonprofit hospitals, said the property-tax proposal could cost it $52 million per year.
“In addition to being patently unfair, this will raise the cost of health care for all our state’s residents and businesses,” CEO Elliot Joseph said in a statement.
By, Arielle Levin Becker
With the potential for major changes in federal health care policy looming, hospital leaders are watching closely, worried especially that cuts to Medicaid could bring a big financial hit and that a repeal of Obamacare could raise the number of uninsured Connecticut residents.
Borgstrom: “I worry that we’re going to go back to growing the number of people who just come in and don’t have any insurance.
Barnes: “Hospitals think that we’ve been underfunding them for the last few years anyways.”
“With all of the uncertainty that is coming out of Washington now, we’re obviously very concerned,” said Dr. Rocco Orlando, senior vice president and chief medical officer at Hartford HealthCare, the parent company of Hartford, Backus and Windham hospitals, The Hospital of Central Connecticut, and MidState Medical Center.
In contingency planning, Hartford HealthCare’s worst-case scenario involves Medicaid: the possibility that the federal government will shift from its open-ended funding approach to giving the state a lump-sum of money – and reduce funding by 25 percent.
Hospital leaders also worry about the effects of repealing Obamacare – a top agenda item for President-elect Donald J. Trump and Congressional Republicans.