ACHP Media Monitoring Report: April 12, 2017

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ACHP in the news: Yesterday, HHS indicated that it will fund cost-sharing reduction payments during litigation. But that indication alone isn’t enough guidance for insurers that are preparing their premium rate requests. They need more certainty about future payments in order to decide whether to participate in the individual market exchanges next year. ACHP President and CEO Ceci Connolly comments in Morning Consult and Fierce Healthcare.

Mixed Signals on Future of CSR Payments
Despite yesterday’s reports that CSR payments to insurers would be funded, the Trump Administration now says that it has yet to make a final decision on the funding. The subsidies lower co-payments and deductibles for individuals who purchased health plans on the exchanges. Health plans need to make decisions about 2018, and an absence of cost-sharing payments could sway plans to leave the marketplace, leading to more uninsured Americans. The Administration could end the program by agreeing with the House of Representatives that the subsidies payed to insurers are illegal. The House is claiming that the ACA lacks the language to authorize spending on the program.

Committee approves broad Medicare payment model
An advisory committee has recommended limited implementation of a proposal for a Medicare bundled-payment model. The program uses specially designed software to build teams of physicians to oversee “episodes” of care, which the proposal defines as the span of a procedure or illness. The model attempts to incorporate 100 different conditions across 75 specialties, which prompted concerns from some committee members about how the program can accommodate such a broad range.

Pennsylvania Rep. Tom Marino favorite for drug czar
Pennsylvania Republicans expect U.S. Rep. Tom Marino (R-PA) to join the Administration as head of the Office of National Drug Control Policy. In Congress, Marino helped design legislation to expand treatment for opioid addiction. As drug czar, Marino would develop and recommend drug control policy for the Administration.

Alternative treatment eases pain without pills
Lower back pain is one of the most common complaints doctors hear from patients, and also one of the main reasons doctors prescribe prescription painkillers. According to a new study, spinal manipulation can be an alternative to medication to ease back pain. The study adds support to using alternative treatments to reduce pain.