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Presidential Transition Brief
– President-elect Donald Trump has named Goldman Sachs President Gary Cohn as National Economic Council Director.
– Reports indicate President-elect Trump is considering Scott Gottlieb, M.D., for the position of Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Administrator. Gottlieb is a former deputy commissioner of the FDA and a fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, a conservative think tank.
– Former Texas Governor Rick Perry is President-elect Trump’s pick to lead the Department of Energy.
CMS looks to prevent patient steering
In an interim final rule issued Monday, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services is requiring dialysis centers to inform patients of the difference in costs of private plans in the region and Medicare or Medicaid. The rule aims to prevent organizations from directing Medicare- and Medicaid-eligible patients to private insurance in attempts to receive higher reimbursement rates. Virgil Dickson at Modern Healthcare shares UnitedHealth Group has alleged a dialysis treatment chain overcharged the insurer after steering patients to its plans and assisting with premium payments through a charity.
Fewer hospital-acquired conditions lead to savings
Hospitals are saving billions of dollars through efforts to improve patient safety. From 2010 through 2015, initiatives to increase the quality of care prevented more than 3 million hospital-acquired conditions and saved $28 billion in costs, according to a report released Monday from the Department of Health and Human Services. Health care leaders attribute the progress to policies that are a part of the Affordable Care Act. Ilene MacDonald at FierceHealthcare has the story.
Price may advocate for doctors at HHS
Throughout his career, Rep. Tom Price (R-GA) has protected the interests of medical professionals. During his time in Congress, Rep. Price has sponsored legislation to limit efforts to reduce doctor payments for medical services and cosponsored a bill to restrict hospital reports used to screen doctors during the hiring process. According to experts, Rep. Price’s experience working as an orthopedic surgeon will allow him to bring a unique perspective to the role of Health and Human Services Secretary, which has not been filled by a physician since the George H.W. Bush administration. Christina Jewett and Marisa Taylor at Kaiser Health News report.
Republicans struggling with logistics of ACA transition period
Efforts to gradually phase out the Affordable Care Act (ACA) may precipitate a collapse of the ACA’s exchanges in the near future. When Republicans introduce legislation to repeal the health law, they plan to include a transition period to provide more time to draft a replacement. During this sunset period, different provisions of the ACA would slowly be undone, explains Alison Kodjak of NPR. However, insurers indicate they have no plans to participate in the exchanges during such a transition, which would cause the exchanges to fold. Many insurers are already losing money on the exchanges, and repealing the ACA would eliminate any chance for long-term growth or expansion, giving most insurers little incentive to participate.
Many Congressional Republicans worry repealing the ACA without a replacement could leave their party politically vulnerable. More than 20 million Americans receive health insurance thanks to the ACA, and the future of their coverage would be uncertain during a transition period, writes Alan Fram of the Associated Press. Some Republicans also worry the party may not reach a consensus on a replacement plan, which could leave tens of millions of Americans without health care coverage.