What We're Reading: IRS Could Alert Uninsured Americans About ACA Subsidy Eligibility

April 6, 2016

What we're reading, April 6, 2016: the federal government could be doing more to alert uninsured individuals about their eligibility for subsidies; the White House will transfer leftover Ebola funds to combat the Zika virus; and Senate companion bill to 21st Century Cures Act is almost done.

A new study from the Urban Institute determined that the Internal Revenue Service could help identify people who are eligible for, but not receiving, government assistance to buy health coverage. Kaiser Health News reported that approximately half of the uninsured people receiving the earned income tax credit are eligible for assistance to buy health insurance. Some local governments make efforts to identify the uninsured, but the federal government could do more by using the data it collects from other assistance programs.

The White House will transfer money left over from the fight against Ebola to the fund to combat the Zika virus, reported the Wall Street Journal. The majority of the funding will go to the CDC, which focuses on research and development of anti-Zika vaccines and treating those infected. Before Congress went on spring recess, the administration requested emergency funding to combat Zika, but Congress went on break without voting. The Senate returned on April 4, but the House doesn’t return until April 12.

A companion to the 21st Century Cures Act could reach the Senate next week. The House passed the 21st Century Cures Act and the new bill is the Senate’s companion legislation. According to The Hill, the biggest obstacle had been finding a way to pay for funding for medical research at the National Institutes of Health. The exact dollar amount for the funding hasn’t been settled yet, but it will likely be close to $9 billion over 5 years, which was the amount in the House bill.