ACHP Media Monitoring Report: December 14, 2016

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New report: ACHP highlights member plans’ strategies for behavioral health and primary care integration.

Presidential Transition Brief
Until inauguration on January 20, ACHP will provide updates on the presidential transition.

– President-elect Donald Trump has chosen Rep. Ryan Zinke (R-MT) to be Interior Secretary.

– President-elect Trump has postponed a news conference focusing on how he plans to address potential conflicts of interest. The event was originally scheduled for Thursday. Trump’s transition team has not announced a new date but has indicated it will be after the holidays and prior to inauguration.

-Current Labor Secretary Tom Perez plans to run for chairman of the Democratic National Committee. The field also includes Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN), New Hampshire Party Chair Raymond Buckley and South Carolina Party Chair Jaime Harrison. Until Perez’s announcement, Ellison was a heavy favorite. The Democrats will elect their chairman in late February.


Obama signs bipartisan health bill

President Obama has signed the 21st Century Cures Act, enacting the bipartisan bill into law. The bill provides funding to fight the opioid crisis, expands investment in biomedical research and revamps the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval process for generic drugs. Some consumer advocates criticize the legislation, arguing revisions to FDA procedures put American patients at risk. The law passed with overwhelming bipartisan support. Juliet Eilperin and Carolyn Johnson of The Washington Post have the story.

Report finds price hikes are one-time occurrence
A Council of Economic Advisers report released yesterday finds price hikes in 2017 for plans sold on the exchanges are “a one-time pricing correction.” According to the report, the higher cost of premiums does not signal future instability in the market. The analysis also credits the Affordable Care Act with increasing access to care, lowering the uninsured rate and reducing national spending on health care. Dan Mangan at CNBC has the story.

Most Americans oppose Medicare privatization
A Politico/Morning Consult poll finds almost 60 percent of Americans oppose efforts to privatize Medicare. Older Americans are more likely to oppose changes to the program, with nearly 70 percent of respondents over the age of 65 indicating they would prefer the program remain as is. While most Americans oppose privatization, more than 80 percent believe Medicare requires adjustments. Mary Ellen McIntire of Morning Consult breaks down the survey.

GOP senators to consult with governors on Medicaid reform
Senate Finance Committee Republicans plan to host a roundtable with GOP governors on potential Medicaid changes that may occur as part of the repeal of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). According to Inside Health Policy, reports indicate Republican governors who have expanded Medicaid under the ACA are wary of changes to the program (subscriber’s content).

Governors Association seeks to boost health data sharing
The National Governors Association (NGA) aims to help states overcome legal and market challenges that hamper providers from sharing patient information. Analysts at the NGA released a report on Friday outlining recommendations for states and offering examples of successful strategies, including standardizing consent forms and passing legislation to aid the flow of health information. Sarah Chacko at The Hill reports.

Judge questions Anthem’s defense of merger
The first phase of the Anthem-Cigna trial wrapped up Tuesday. Brent Kendall at The Wall Street Journal shares Anthem faced difficult questions from the judge, who aims to determine if the acquisition would harm large, national employers. During the trial, the insurer argued new entrants and smaller companies would preserve competition in the market; the judge asserted data Anthem had presented undercut the company’s claim. If the judge feels the Department of Justice has proved its case in this first phase, a decision on the merger could come sooner than the expected date in January (subscriber’s content).