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What We're Reading: DOJ Moves to Strike Down Entire ACA; Aetna Sued Over Readmission Policy; Diabetic Amputations


The Trump administration’s Department of Justice (DOJ) is urging federal courts to strike down the entire Affordable Care Act; a Florida hospital is suing Aetna over the insurer’s Readmission Payment Policy; diabetic amputations disproportionately affect black and Latino individuals.

Trump Administration Urges Court to Strike Down Entire ACA

The Trump administration’s Department of Justice is urging federal courts to strike down the entire Affordable Care Act (ACA), arguing that once Congress struck down the ACA’s individual mandate in the 2017 tax law, Congress wouldn’t have intended to keep “the rest of the ACA, which involves numerous independent provisions likewise designed to work together to expand health insurance coverage and to shift healthcare costs.” According to The Wall Street Journal, the appeals court agreed with the administration’s request to fast-track oral arguments, with the case expected to be heard in July.

Florida Hospital Sues Aetna Over Readmission Policy

Florida hospital Lakeland Regional Health is taking aim at Aetna’s Readmission Payment Policy, suing the insurer for more than $1 million, reported The Ledger. The payment policy dictates how much Aetna will pay the hospital for a patient’s readmission within 30 days. According to the hospital, Aetna has denied many of the bills. Aetna has filed to have the lawsuit dismissed and claims that the hospital agreed to a contract that says the insurer can modify it at any time. The insurer also claims that the hospital did not make every attempt to resolve each patient’s insurance bills through the company’s website before filing the lawsuit.

Diabetic Amputations Highlight Health Inequities

While fewer than 5 adults out of every 1000 with diabetes get amputations nationwide, the metric is being called a “mega-disparity,” with more than half of the 82,000 amputations performed between 2011 and 2017 attributed to black or Latino patients, according to an analysis from Kaiser Health News. More than half of these amputations occurred among people aged 45 to 64 years, leaving many disabled during their prime working years. It’s estimated that as many as three-fourths of people with diabetes who have lower-limb amputations die within 5 years.

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