American Health Line's editors and writers covered some big topics this year, including the future of CHIP program and the consequences of rescinding the Affordable Care Act's individual mandate for other popular provisions of the law. Below, we round up American Health Line's top five must-read Analysis & Insight pieces.
1) Can lawmakers cover pre-existing conditions without a mandate? – February 22
The Affordable Care Act's defenders say that keeping some of the law's most popular provisions—such as affordable coverage for people with pre-existing conditions—requires mandating that everyone have insurance. But some conservative lawmakers say the mandate is unnecessary. Who's right? American Health Line examined the issue.
Update: The Senate-passed tax reform bill would eliminate the penalty associated with the individual mandate, essentially repealing the requirement that individual U.S. residents purchase health insurance. The House-passed tax reform bill lacked any comparable provision, so we'll have to wait to see what final compromise emerges to determine the mandate's future.
2) CHIP: The 3 looming questions about the soon-to-expire program – May 18
Before Congress missed its Sept. 30 deadline to reauthorize CHIP, American Health Line spoke with stakeholders concerned about how GOP lawmakers' Affordable Care Act (ACA) repeal efforts could affect the future of CHIP—a health care program that covered an estimated 8.4 million U.S. children in 2015.
Update: Although at the time we wrote this story, experts were optimistic lawmakers would pass a "clean" CHIP bill, we're approaching the 70-day mark after expiration without a reauthorized program. It's becoming clear that a clean bill may no longer be an option.
3) Automation is threatening jobs in some industries. Is health care next? – April 19
Automation is often cited as a threat to jobs, but some experts say it could actually create new openings in health care. American Health Line this spring took a closer look at those trends and how automation is being used in the industry.
Update: Bureau of Labor Statistics data for 2016 showed that health care jobs grew more than any other sector of the economy, adding 2.2 million jobs, so it appears the robot apocalypse hasn't reached health care just yet. As for what the future holds, our crystal ball remains cloudy.
4) How Trump's Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch could affect health care policy – February 1
President Trump in January nominated to the Supreme Court Neil Gorsuch—whom experts described as a constitutionalist who could play a role in pending health care cases. Prior to Gorsuch's Senate confirmation, American Health Line spoke with experts to explore just how Gorsuch could affect pending and future health care cases.
Update: Senate Republicans deployed the so-called "nuclear option" to break a Democratic filibuster and confirm Gorsuch on a 54-45 vote. In his early opinions, Gorsuch has aligned himself with the Court's conservative bloc, as expected.
5) Trump might stop cost-sharing reduction payments. What would that mean? – August 7
President Trump for months threatened to halt the Affordable Care Act's cost-sharing reduction payments for insurers. American Health Line this past summer broke down everything you need to know about the payments and the potential fallout.
Update: On Oct. 12, Trump officially decided to end the cost-sharing reduction payments—but perhaps unexpectedly, the decision has made health insurance more affordablefor some people.