What We're Reading: ACA Replacement Timeline, Employee Penalty in Mass., and Sugary Drink Intake

A roundup of top healthcare news stories: January 26, 2017.

GOP Plans to Repeal and Replace Obamacare by April

As part of the legislative agenda for 2017, House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wisconsin, explained that Republicans would repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA) by April, reported POLITICO. Ryan is looking to fast-track the ACA’s repeal, but replacing it will need support from Democrats. The agenda also plans to fund the wall along the Mexican border and approve a tax reform package all before August.

Massachusetts Businesses With Employees on Medicaid Could Face Penalties

In a bid to combat escalating Medicaid enrollment, Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker has proposed penalizing businesses with workers that enroll in Medicaid. According to The Wall Street Journal, the penalty would be $2000 per worker that enrolls in Medicaid and is supposed to incentivize businesses to shoulder more of health insurance costs. Employers with more than 10 full-time workers who cover less than 80% of the workforce would be penalized. Employers opposed the proposal, claiming they will be punished for an issue they did not cause.

Reduction in Sugary Drink Intake Stalls

For nearly 2 decades, the number of calories consumed through sugary beverages has dropped steadily, but the number has not made much more progress since 2009. STAT reported that children are drinking about 143 calories per day (down from 220 in 2003) and adults are drinking 145 calories per day (down from 188), but it’s probably still too much. Currently, adults get 6.5% of their total daily calories from sodas, fruit juices with added sugars, sport drinks, energy drinks, and other sugar-sweetened beverages.