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What We're Reading: ACA Enrollment Stable; Funding Boost for NIH; No Deal for ACA Stabilization


Affordable Care Act (ACA) enrollment was stable in most places despite turmoil; National Institutes of Health research, opioid, and mental health funding see gains in budget deal, but ACA stabilization plan is missing.

ACA Marketplaces Stable Despite Turmoil

Affordable Care Act (ACA) plan enrollment declined slightly, but states running their own marketplaces saw slight gains and did better than those relying on the federal exchange. About 11.8 million Americans enrolled in 2018 coverage, down 3.7% from last year’s total, according to the National Academy for State Health Policy, Kaiser Health News reported. The enrollment period was marked by a shorter time frame, a sharply reduced federal budget for outreach, and confusion during months of repeal-and-replace debate.

NIH, Opioid, Mental Health Funding See Gains in Budget Deal

Funding for research at the National Institutes of Health would rise by $2 billion and spending to address opioid and mental health issues would rise by $6 billion over the next 2 years under a bipartisan budget agreement announced by Senate leaders, STAT reported. The White House endorsed the agreement and the House is also likely to pass it.

ACA Stabilization Plan Missing From Budget Package

Last December, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, promised Senator Susan Collins, R-Maine, a vote on shoring up the ACA’s individual health insurance marketplaces in exchange for her vote for the GOP tax bill. So far, that vote has not materialized and is not included in the bipartisan budget agreement reached late Wednesday, Kaiser Health News reported. The deal does include most of the Democrats' other health priorities.

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