ACHP Media Monitoring Report: December 19, 2016

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Note: The Media Monitoring Report will not be published Monday, December 26 through Monday, January 2. We will resume publication Tuesday, January 3.

ACHP in the news: ACHP President and CEO Ceci Connolly discussed the future of the Affordable Care Act on NPR’s midday news program Here and Now.

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

– President-elect Donald Trump has chosen Rep. Mick Mulvaney (R-SC) to head the Office of Management and Budget. Mulvaney is known as an “outspoken fiscal hawk.”


ACA sign-ups hit record high for one day
Sign-ups on, the website to select a health plan in the Affordable Care Act marketplace, surpassed the previous record for enrollment on a single day. On Thursday, 670,000 Americans signed up for health coverage, 70,000 more than the previous all-time high reached on the same day last year. Amy Goldstein at The Washington Post shares federal officials have extended the deadline to choose coverage due to the spike in enrollment.

Government rolls out changes to ACA rules for 2018
The Obama administration has released Affordable Care Act regulation changes for 2018. Among the changes are tweaks to the payment model for the risk adjustment program. The program was established to help minimize financial losses to insurers caused by high-cost enrollees, according to Peter Sullivan of The Hill.

ACA repeal attempts will occur in complex political environment
In an analysis of the health care political landscape, economist and Project HOPE Senior Fellow Gail Wilensky explores the different options Republicans might take to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA). In an op-ed for The Milbank Quarterly, Wilensky explains potential hurdles to repealing the law, including a narrow Senate majority and internal disagreements about the timeframe for phasing out the ACA.

Medicare beneficiaries often pay more for outpatient services
The inspector general is asking Medicare to reconsider how its billing rules define inpatient and outpatient hospital admissions. The Associated Press reports the agency has been working to fix the discrepancies in billing between short inpatient and long outpatient stays, as Medicare beneficiaries receiving outpatient treatment sometimes pay more than those who had similar procedures as inpatients. Billing decisions determine how much a patient pays for a procedure as well as if an individual receives Medicare coverage for inpatient rehabilitation services.

Hospital system sells insurance business
Catholic Health Initiatives, one of the largest hospital operators in the country, is selling some of its health-insurance business as the hospital system backs away from its plan to own an insurance company. In a push to enter insurance markets starting about three years ago, the Colorado-based health plan had purchased an Arkansas plan, acquired stakes in a Washington-state company and began operating in seven states. Melanie Evans of The Wall Street Journal explains health providers undertake substantial risk when looking to compete with insurers, and other hospital operators are also retreating from the insurance market (subscriber’s content).

Blog Review

Our weekly Blog Review features insightful posts from around the web and keeps an eye on medical industry and health news via the Trend Watch. This week we review posts discussing the 21st Century Cures Act. This week’s Trend Watch compiles posts about outgoing Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell’s vision for American health care.

21st Century Cures Act

Merry Xmas NIH—Here’s Your 0.1% Additional Raise
Modern Healthcare: Vital Signs
Editor Merrill Goozner believes the National Institutes of Health (NIH) will shrink over the next decade even with funding provided by the 21st Century Cures Act. Goozner explains spending on NIH research will likely amount to an increase of 1.4 percent per year, which is comparable to appropriations before the Cures Act. On average, the rate of increase in NIH funding has been 1.3 percent throughout the past 10 years.

21st Century Cures Act: Making Progress on Shared Goals for Patients
FDA Voice
The 21st Century Cures Act will allow the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to retain scientific experts and build on efforts to further medical innovation, according to FDA Commissioner Robert M. Califf, M.D. The FDA is excited about increased funding for the NIH, opioid addiction treatment and mental health services, writes Dr. Califf.

Trend Watch

Secretary Burwell on Health Care

Building A System That Works: The Future of Health Care
Health Affairs Blog
Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell advocates for a future health care system built on reforms to the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Burwell asserts repealing the ACA would undermine progress; instead, American policymakers should focus on emphasizing quality and information sharing among providers.

What Does the Future of the Affordable Care Act Look Like?
Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell claims Republican efforts to pass a delayed repeal of the Affordable Care Act will lead to “repeal and collapse.” Burwell believes uncertainty will cause insurers to withdraw from the marketplace before the ACA is formally dismantled, leaving millions of Americans uninsured.