ACHP Media Monitoring Report: April 10, 2017

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Debate over GOP health bill continues
Ownership of the health care debate has shifted from Democrats to Republicans, as public attention moves from the ACA to Republican proposals.
The inability of top Republican officials to sway Congress to produce a health care bill signals tough legislative challenges ahead. The newest proposal would cut payments to hospitals and doctors in order to lower insurance premiums. The previous inclusion of the Federal Invisible Risk Sharing Program in the bill was an attempt to garner support for the bill to pass, however, a recent independent analysis suggests billions of dollars in extra government spending would be needed to lower premiums under this plan.
Also included in the bill is an option for states to remove consumer protections, which could affect health coverage for many individuals. If Congress repeals insurance reforms and leaves states to replace them, there would not be a clear path to bringing back consumer protections and millions could lose coverage.

Analysis shows progress in individual market, yet job growth slows
While some have suggested the individual insurance market is struggling under the ACA, a new analysis tells a different story. Standard & Poor tracked the performance of Blue Cross plans across the country since the ACA took effect and found that insurers reduced losses last year, are on track to break even this year and possibly profit in 2018.
In March, the health care industry produced 13,500 new jobs, compared to the 31,400 new positions created in February. Analysts say ACA repeal and replace efforts may have contributed to the slower job growth.

Trump names assistant secretary of HHS
In a White House press release, President Trump announced that Stephen T. Parente will be assistant secretary of Health and Human Services, Planning and Evaluation. Axios reports that Dr. Parente is a respected health economist at the University of Minnesota. Parente serves as a Congressional Budget Office health advisor and was a health policy advisor for the McCain 2008 presidential campaign.

Cuts proposed to global health funding
As the largest funder of global health programs, the U.S. has been at the forefront of efforts to combat infectious disease. President Trump has proposed dramatic cuts in funding that would hamper the country’s ability to address major global health challenges. Trump has also left key positions vacant at the CDC, HHS and the U.S. Agency for International Development that respond to health challenges, creating concerns about the country’s ability to handle an outbreak or epidemic.

Blog Review

Our weekly Blog Review features insightful posts from around the web and keeps an eye on medical industry and health news.

Diabetes is Even Deadlier Than we Thought, Study Suggests
The Washington Post
Researchers from Boston University School of Public Health are arguing that diabetes is responsible for 12 percent of deaths in the U.S., compared to the 3.3 percent that death certificates indicate. Advocates say the numbers are important to make a case for increased efforts to treat and prevent the disease.

What we Know About the 30 Million Americans who are Still Uninsured
An uninsured population exists in the United States that is about the size of the population of Canada. Vox outlines demographics of this group. The decision to purchase insurance comes down to cost for many individuals, and people of color and those earning an income near the poverty line are more likely to be uninsured.