Trending News Today: Short-Term Health Insurance Plans Could Spike Enrollment

Top news of the day from across the health care landscape.

Democrats in Congress are going on the offensive targeting GOP legislators up for reelection who sought to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA), according to The Hill. The favorability of the ACA in recent polls has grown after efforts to repeal the health law last year stalled, with more Americans now in favor of the ACA. A poll by the Kaiser Family Foundation in March showed that 50% of the public supports the ACA compared with 43% who view the legislation unfavorably, the article cited. Republican strategist Ford O’Connell told The Hill that the ACA has become an issue that Democrats will push and GOP legislators will seek to avoid. “I don’t think it’s seen as a winning issue,” O’Connell told The Hill. “It’s also an issue that tends to fire up the Democratic base more so than the Republican base.”

A proposal by The Trump administration that would permit insurers to sell short-term, 12-month medical plans—along with the upcoming repeal of the ACA individual mandate penalty in 2019—is expected to increase enrollment in the short-term plan market next year, according to a report by Modern Healthcare. Insurance companies seeking to capitalize on the projected influx of new customers are adding attractive benefits to short-term products, according to the report. These actions could improve uninsured rates and draw some people currently enrolled in ACA exchange plans. However, while sellers view these plans as vital for consumers in need, the report noted that critics are worried short-term plans could harm the larger individual insurance market overall as short-term plan insurers reap the profits.

California leads the nation in pushing back against efforts by Republicans to dismantle the ACA, according to Kaiser Health News. The state enacted several steps in hopes of launching universal health care coverage for all residents, regardless of immigration status and the huge cost such a move would carry, Kaiser reported. Approximately 1.5 million Californians are insured through Covered California, the state’s ACA exchange, and 3.8 million signed up for health care under the Medicaid expansion, according to the report. California is notable due to its size, economic power, large immigrant population, and liberal leanings, Kaiser reported.