ACHP Media Monitoring Report – August 1, 2017

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Trump threatens Congressional staff subsidies and CSR funding
President Trump is pressuring Congress to revisit health care reform and may use executive powers to force the issue. Yesterday on Twitter, Trump urged Congress to stall all other legislation until heath care reform is passed. Conservative advocates are also encouraging Trump to reexamine employer subsidies for congressional staff to purchase ACA plans in order to force a vote. In addition, Trump has restated his desire to cut funding for CSR subsidies. Experts believe ending CSR payments would cause confusion and turmoil in the marketplace, and Axios has released a map demonstrating how ending subsidies could affect the exchanges in different states.

Bipartisan caucus aims to fix the individual market
A 43-member bipartisan group in the House announced it agrees on principles for improving the ACA. The Problem Solvers Caucus says its top solution is stabilizing the market by securing appropriations for CSR subsidy payments, which average $7 billion in annual reimbursements to insurers. The Caucus also recommends funding state reinsurance programs and has asked HHS to revise guidance on Medicaid 1332 waivers and ACA section 1333 waivers. The group plans to meet with constituents and stakeholders in August to further explore its proposals.

Block grants part of newest health care proposal
The most recent plan to reshape the health care system would cut the federal government’s role and leave governors to decide the fate of the exchanges. Sens. Bill Cassidy and Lindsey Graham’s plan would give billions of dollars in federal funding to the states in the form of block grants. The states would have full control over how to use the money, either continuing to support the ACA exchanges or scrapping the current system to build a new one with little federal interference. However, Republican Senators will have a hard time reconciling differences within the party. Several GOP leaders have said they do not see a path to passing a bill, and Sen. Orin Hatch feels that there is too much animosity and division on health care to push forward on reform.

Virtual assistant devices bring change to medical care
Experts anticipate voice-activated devices will transform healthcare once technological and HIPAA regulation problems are resolved. Virtual assistants like Amazon’s Alexa can already give consumers medical advice and look up clinical information. Virtual assistants could boost patient engagement and reduce administrative burdens for providers by making it easier to schedule or give information about drug interactions.

A midwife is changing how women in Mexico give birth
In a rural town in Mexico, one midwife is working to reduce high rates of maternal deaths and C-sections. Carolina Menchú teaches women how to have safe, natural pregnancies and recognize when further medical attention is necessary. The rate of maternal deaths in Chiapis is 60 per 100,000 live births, which is four times higher than in the Unites States. It also has the highest C-section rate in Latin America at almost 50 percent. Her work is funded by the U.S. Partners in Health.