What We're Reading: Questions About Stents; CHIP Vote; Free Obamacare for Some People

A new study questions the use of stents in certain patients; the House is expected to pass CHIP funding, but how to pay for it continues to be debated; and nearly all older, poorer people will have access to cheaper ACA plans in 2018.

Questioning the Use of Stents

Stents may not provide as much benefit for heart patients as originally thought. According to The Wall Street Journal, researchers found stents didn’t provide patients with angina with a significant improvement in exercise time on a treadmill. These patients are only a small number of the total population of patients who currently receive stents, but the findings could have a big impact on the business of stent manufacturers. The study’s findings do not apply to patients having heart attacks; past studies have shown stents can save lives in these patients.

House Expected to Vote on CHIP

Although there is still debate on how to pay for funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), the House is expected to pass legislation to refinance CHIP. The bill would ensure funding for the program, but it is expected to pass mostly along party lines, with a tougher road to pass in the Senate, according to The New York Times. Both parties have agreed to fund CHIP for 5 years and community health centers for 2 years, but are split on how to pay for the funding. Republicans want to use money in an Affordable Care Act (ACA) fund for public health efforts, which Democrats are strongly opposed to.

Older, Poorer People Will Benefit From Cheap ACA Plans

The Trump administration’s decision to end funding for cost-sharing reduction payments is having an unintended consequence: more people will have cheaper or free options in 2018. The Washington Post reported that the move has led to increased federal subsidies and that older people with low incomes will benefit the most. In 98% of counties, this population would be able to get a bronze plan with no premium. It is unclear yet if this new quirk to the ACA will offset expected enrollment losses.