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Tennessee House OKs Medicaid work approval; omnibus bill excludes ACA payments

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Tennessee House OKs Medicaid work approval; omnibus bill excludes ACA payments

The Tennessee House voted 72-23 to approve a bill that seeks a waiver of federal rules to develop a plan imposing work requirements on some able-bodied beneficiaries of the state's Medicaid program, the Chattanooga (Tenn.) Times Free Press reported. The bill, sponsored by Tennessee House Speaker Beth Harwell, R-Nashville, and carried by Rep. Dan Howell, R-Georgetown, also seeks from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services a second waiver of Temporary Assistance for Needy Families funds to help pay for administering the Medicaid program. GOP senators also reportedly have a companion bill ready to be considered in the Senate.

Republican Sens. Lamar Alexander of Tennessee and Susan Collins of Maine; House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Greg Walden, R-Ore.; and Rep. Ryan Costello, R-Pa., issued a joint statement saying the Alexander-Collins' healthcare market stabilization proposal should be included in the omnibus spending bill that Congress is set to consider this week. Citing Oliver Wyman's analysis and CBO's projections, Alexander said the measure would reduce individual market premiums by as much as 40% and could be adopted without adding to the federal debt.

Elsewhere, several GOP lawmakers said that the House's government funding bill excludes the Affordable Care Act's cost-sharing reduction and reinsurance payments due to a dispute with Democrats over the so-called Hyde Amendment, which restricts the use of federal funds to pay for abortions, The Hill reported. According to POLITICO, the House is scheduled to vote on the omnibus bill on March 21 and subsequently the Senate will take it up.

Idaho Insurance Director Dean Cameron told Modern Healthcare he would sue the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services if Administrator Seema Verma stymies the sale of alternative health plans that circumvent Affordable Care Act rules, also called the state-based plans.

Preliminary results indicate that the U.S. property and casualty industry posted a net underwriting loss of $23.5 billion for 2017, according to A.M. Best. The underwriting loss was primarily driven by an estimated $52.9 billion in catastrophe-related insured losses, which were up 109.8% from 2016. The industry's reported combined ratio deteriorated 3.0 points in 2017 to 103.8% from 2016 and was the worst of the last five years, the rating agency said.

South Carolina's insurance regulator confirmed to The Insurance Insider that Access Insurance Co. tried to avert its liquidation by raising additional capital but failed to do so.

HealthEquity Inc. released its outlook for fiscal year 2019 and expects revenue of between $276.0 million and $282.0 million and net income in the range of $47.0 million to $51.0 million for the year. Net income per share is projected to be between 74 cents and 80 cents.

In deal news, Arch Capital Group Ltd. agreed to transfer about $400 million of reserves to Catalina Holdings (Bermuda) Ltd., The Insurance Insider reported, citing "legal sources." The legacy deal involves liabilities related to Arch Capital's portfolio of casualty insurance business written out of Bermuda.

Insurance broker NFP Corp. acquired Westfield, N.J.-based BSC Group Services LLC in a transaction that closed Feb. 1.

Capital offerings: W. R. Berkley Corp. priced an offering of $175 million of 5.70% subordinated debentures due 2058.

American International Group Inc. filed two preliminary prospectuses with the SEC relating to the issue of new debt to fund a portion of the consideration of its acquisition of Validus Holdings Ltd.

And, pursuant to a strategic agreement between Everest Re Group Ltd. and Hudson Structured Capital Management Ltd., Everest will be the anchor investor in a newly created insurance technology strategy that Hudson plans to launch in early 2018.

Featured news

Trump to detail US drug pricing plans; Roche drug cuts death risk in lung cancer: President Donald Trump said he plans to roll out a detailed plan next month to lower U.S. drug prices. In a speech in New Hampshire yesterday, he said part of the administration's effort to reduce drug costs included making medication-assisted treatments for opioid addiction more affordable by taking steps to increase competition.

Financial news in other parts of the world

Asia-Pacific: Bandhan Bank IPO 14.6x oversubscribed on final day; ANZ weighs NZ unit's float

Europe: EU, UK reach Brexit transition deal; RBS mulls online bank; HSBC eyes $4B CoCos

Middle East & Africa: Kenya rate cut for 1st time since 2016; Saudi eyes Tadawul-only Aramco IPO

The day ahead

Early morning futures indicators pointed to a mixed opening for the U.S. market.

In Asia, the Hang Seng rose 0.11% to 31,549.93, while the Nikkei 225 dropped to 0.47% to 21,380.97.

In Europe, around midday, the FTSE 100 climbed 0.19% to 7,055.97 and the Euronext 100 increased to 0.22% to 1,021.43.

On the macro front

The Redbook is due out today and the Federal Open Market Committee meeting will begin today.