ACHP Media Monitoring Report: April 13, 2017

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ACHP in the News: Though repeal has stalled, Congress and the Trump Administration can still undermine ACA insurance markets by ending funding to cost-sharing subsidies. In the Huffington Post, ACHP President and CEO Ceci Connolly says health plans are experiencing confusion around setting prices for 2018 due to the uncertainty of the payments.

Health Care Reform Negotiations
The Trump Administration is still considering whether or not to continue funding cost-sharing subsidies. President Trump intends to use the program as leverage and said in an interview that he predicts that Democrats will start negotiating a deal with the subsidies on the line. Trump will need to make a decision about the subsidy program in the coming weeks. Hospitals, doctors, business and health insurers have joined forces to implore Trump to provide funding for cost-sharing subsidies in a letter sent to the President today.

As they continue working on a reform bill, Republican leaders have an idea to allow insurers to offer health plans that do not meet all of the ACA minimum benefit package requirements as long as they also offer plans that do meet those requirements. Critics warn healthy individuals could flock to the cheaper, skimpier plans, leaving the sickest consumers to purchase the more expensive options.

Market stabilization rule expected this week
The insurance market stabilization rule for the ACA markets cleared the Office of Management and Budget. The rule creates less restrictive requirements for metal tiers, increases pre-verifications for special enrollment periods and allows health plans to withhold coverage from consumers until premiums are paid.

Plurality of Americans want single-payer; ACA at its most popular
A Morning Consult/Politico poll finds a variety of U.S. voters favor implementing a single-payer health insurance system; Democrats were most likely to favor the idea, but 35 percent of Republicans also supported single-payer. The poll also finds 51 percent of American voters support the ACA—a 10 point bump over the past four months. While the law has reached record-high levels of popularity, 71 percent of Trump voters still oppose the law and 73 percent of Republican voters believe Republicans should continue working on reform. Given how important the issue is to their base, Republican legislators may feel pressure to continue working on repeal.

States not burdened by Medicaid expansion
A study in Health Affairs finds state expenses for expanded Medicaid programs were paid for by the federal government and states did not have to cut funding from other programs to cover costs. However, the study only includes data from a span when the federal government committed to covering 100 percent of expansion costs; financial support will begin to wane this year, and states will have to cover 10 percent of Medicaid expansion costs by 2020.  The study addresses arguments from lawmakers that Medicaid expansion will lead to a greater budget deficit by demonstrating that there are no large, hidden costs associated with expansion.

Heart Association finds high cholesterol confusion
Individuals with high cholesterol are not sure how to manage their condition and are unsure that they can, according to a survey from the American Heart Association. The organization aimed to get a better understanding of the public’s awareness about the risks of high cholesterol. The survey was a part of an initiative that combines a public awareness campaign with guideline-based best practices to help identify health risks and create treatment plans.