From Politico

SCOTUS Sets Hearing on Obamacare for Week After Election

August 19, 2020

The Supreme Court on Wednesday said it will hear the Trump administration-backed challenge to Obamacare on Nov. 10, exactly one week after the presidential election.

The timing of the oral arguments could energize Democratic campaign efforts to highlight the GOP-led lawsuit, which seeks to overturn the entire health care law.

The Supreme Court on Wednesday said it will hear the Trump administration-backed challenge to Obamacare on Nov. 10, exactly one week after the presidential election.

The timing of the oral arguments could energize Democratic campaign efforts to highlight the GOP-led lawsuit, which seeks to overturn the entire health care law.

Background: Democrats are making the GOP assault against insurance protections for preexisting conditions a central message in battleground districts, replicating the 2018 strategy that helped them take back control of House of Representatives. Speakers at the Democratic National Convention this week have attacked President Donald Trump’s support for the lawsuit, which jeopardizes consumer protections and health insurance for about 20 million people covered by the Obamacare….

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Next Testing Debacle: The Fall Virus Surge

June 18, 2020

The U.S is now conducting more than 3 million coronavirus tests a week, a big improvement over the shortages and failures that worsened the pandemic this spring. But the country risks another dangerous testing deficit this fall when schools and businesses try to reopen.

Safely reopening schools and businesses could require up to 30 million tests per week, rather than the current three million, certain experts say. And if surging coronavirus cases collide with flu season, the demand could be even higher.

The U.S is now conducting more than 3 million coronavirus tests a week, a big improvement over the shortages and failures that worsened the pandemic this spring. But the country risks another dangerous testing deficit this fall when schools and businesses try to reopen.

Safely reopening schools and businesses could require up to 30 million tests per week, rather than the current three million, certain experts say. And if surging coronavirus cases collide with flu season, the demand could be even higher.

“We could have a situation that would stretch us,” said Nate Smith, secretary of the Arkansas Department of Health. “We’re likely to see people who are infected with both at the same time. No one knows exactly how that’s going to look….”

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The ‘Hard Slog’ of Waiting for a Coronavirus Vaccine

June 10, 2020

What if all it took for the world to return to normal was a shot in the arm?

Politicians are repeating the mantra that a coronavirus vaccine is the exit strategy. But getting there is neither simple nor even guaranteed.

“A vaccine is not a given,” said David Heymann, a professor of infectious disease epidemiology and distinguished fellow at Chatham House.

What if all it took for the world to return to normal was a shot in the arm?

Politicians are repeating the mantra that a coronavirus vaccine is the exit strategy. But getting there is neither simple nor even guaranteed.

“A vaccine is not a given,” said David Heymann, a professor of infectious disease epidemiology and distinguished fellow at Chatham House.

There are hundreds of vaccine candidates in development, but the vast majority will fail. Assuming one is successful, it could take years to manufacture billions of doses for the entire globe….

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Coronavirus Drives Health Insurers Back to Obamacare

May 14, 2020

Health insurers fled the Affordable Care Act in the early years of the law, fearing that losses from covering too many sick people would eat away at their profits.

Now the insurers increasingly view Obamacare as a boon while job-based health coverage faces its biggest threat yet in a crashing economy.

With tens of millions of people losing their jobs — and their health benefits — along with major cuts to Medicaid, the insurers see stability and the promise of enough healthy enrollees in a marketplace that offers government subsidized private insurance to millions of Americans during a pandemic.

Health insurers fled the Affordable Care Act in the early years of the law, fearing that losses from covering too many sick people would eat away at their profits.

Now the insurers increasingly view Obamacare as a boon while job-based health coverage faces its biggest threat yet in a crashing economy.

With tens of millions of people losing their jobs — and their health benefits — along with major cuts to Medicaid, the insurers see stability and the promise of enough healthy enrollees in a marketplace that offers government subsidized private insurance to millions of Americans during a pandemic.

United Healthcare, the nation’s biggest insurer, on Tuesday said it’s re-entering Maryland’s Obamacare market and planning other expansions after abandoning 34 states’ ACA exchanges since 2016. Anthem and Cigna have also made incremental moves over the past two years….

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Inside America’s Unending Testing Snafu

April 22, 2020

It’s hard to tell from watching President Donald Trump and members of his Coronavirus Task Force just how many people can be tested for coronavirus in the U.S. and whether there’s enough testing capacity to reopen the economy.

Task force officials have been citing the millions of swabs and test tubes now in production as manufacturers ramp up capacity. They handed out lists of labs in each state to governors this week, suggesting that states just haven’t been asking labs to do the work.

It’s hard to tell from watching President Donald Trump and members of his Coronavirus Task Force just how many people can be tested for coronavirus in the U.S. and whether there’s enough testing capacity to reopen the economy.

Task force officials have been citing the millions of swabs and test tubes now in production as manufacturers ramp up capacity. They handed out lists of labs in each state to governors this week, suggesting that states just haven’t been asking labs to do the work.

But doubling the number of tests conducted from the current 1 million per week, as the White House recommends, is far more complicated than that. In addition to solving the complex global supply chain problems with test and lab materials, it will likely require large purchases of high-speed lab equipment and greater national coordination….

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