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Obama’s CMS sends invites to Trump’s health plan party

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The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services is preparing to get together with exchange plan issuers this spring — if the exchange program still exists.

CMS has sent a “save the date” notice for an Annual Qualified Health Plan Issuer Conference.

The three-day conference could start at CMS headquarters in Baltimore on March 15.

“Pre-registration is required to participate in-person or remotely,” organizers say in the notice. “More information coming January 2017!”

CMS organized a similar conference for issuers in March this year. CMS officials and insurance company executives talked about an Affordable Care Act program that uses cash from health plan issuers that attract low-risk enrollees to help issuers that attract high-risk enrollees.

Related: The main PPACA risk-balancing system: Can it work?

CMS, an arm of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, set up to provide Affordable Care Act exchange plan enrollment and account administration services in states that are unable or unwilling to provide those services.

The 115th Congress will begin next week. The Republican leaders of the House and the Senate have promised to repeal Obamacare.

President-elect Donald Trump, who is preparing to take the oath of office Jan. 20, has also promised to repeal Obamacare. His team could begin reshaping CMS policies and programs soon after he enters office.

Some advocates of “Obamacare repeal” have talked about repealing the entire Affordable Care Act, but others use the term “Obamacare” to refer only to some parts of the law.

Some Republican proposals for changing or replacing the ACA have included provisions for letting the ACA exchange system continue to exist. The proposals have not usually included clear discussions of whether would or would not continue to exist.

The Trump administration has proposed making Seema Verma, an Indiana health policy consultant, the next CMS administrator. Verma has professional experience with working with Indiana is a state, and Verma’s firm produced training videos for the navigators in Indiana.


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