RealClearHealth Morning Scan -- 03/03/2016

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NAM's Boerstling: 'Full Repeal' of Cadillac Tax Needed
Robyn Boerstling is vice president of infrastructure, innovation and human resources policy for the National Association of Manufacturers. She talked to RealClearHealth's Karl Eisenhower about the Cadillac tax, rising health care costs and how the ACA impacts manufacturers.

Donald Trump Releases Health Care Reform Plan
J. Diamond, CNN
Trump published a seven-point health care reform plan that calls for repealing Obamacare, breaking down state barriers that prevent the sale of health insurance across state lines and making individuals' health insurance premium payments fully tax deductible.

Fact-Checking GOP Candidates on Health Care
Sanger-Katz, Upshot
The Republican field is united in wishing to repeal the Affordable Care Act, the 2010 law known as Obamacare. But the remaining candidates have not developed detailed proposals about what would come next, though they have less comprehensive ideas that they speak about on the stump. Here’s our look at a few favorite talking points and how well they match up with the evidence.

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Oscar Posts $105 Million Obamacare Loss
Zachary Tracer, Bloomberg
Startup Oscar Health Insurance Corp. lost $105.2 million in its New York and New Jersey businesses last year, a sign that insurers of all sizes are struggling in the new markets created by President Barack Obama’s health-care overhaul.

Health Care Service Corp. Trims ACA Losses
Kristen Schorsch, Crain's CB
The Chicago-based parent of Blue Cross and Blue Shield plans in five states, including in Illinois, shrank its net loss in 2015 to $65.9 million, compared with $281.9 million the year before, according to a new financial statement. The insurer, one of the biggest in the country, generated $31.2 billion in total revenue in 2015, a 12.6 percent increase from 2014.

Senate GOP Blocks Funding for Opioid Epidemic
Carney, The Hill
Senate Republicans blocked a Democratic push to add $600 million in emergency funding to an otherwise bipartisan opioid abuse bill Wednesday. Senators voted 48-47 on a procedural hurdle to an amendment from Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), with 60 votes needed to move forward.

States, CDC Seek Limits on Painkillers
Christine Vestal, Stateline
Now, in the throes of the deadliest drug epidemic in U.S. history, governors, presidential candidates and major health care organizations — from insurance companies to physician associations — are calling for limits on the number and strength of opioid pills prescribed. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is close to taking the unprecedented step of issuing national guidelines to curb liberal opioid prescribing practices widely blamed as the cause of the epidemic.

CMS Funds Health IT for LTC, Behavioral Health
Versel, MedCityNews
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services finally is offering Meaningful Use-type incentives to long-term care, behavioral health and substance abuse care providers. It’s part of a wider effort to morph the electronic health records program into what acting CMS Administrator Andy Slavitt has said would be “something better” than Meaningful Use.

Mental Illness: Families Cut out of Care
Liz Szabo, USA Today
Although a federal law on patient privacy was written to protect patients’ rights, the Angells and a growing number of mental health advocates say the law has harmed the care of adults with serious mental illness, who often depend on their families for care, but don’t always recognize that they’re sick or that they need help.

How Zenefits' Big Bet On Sales Went Wrong
William Alden, Buzzfeed
Zenefits’ compensation structure created big rewards for sales reps on the enterprise team, who handled the largest customers, despite the reality that, as Zenefits later acknowledged, its software and processes worked better for smaller companies. And as more bodies filled the San Francisco headquarters and a satellite office in Scottsdale, Arizona — with the sales organization growing to around 500 or more, according to estimates by several former employees — reps increasingly failed to hit their monthly quotas.

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