ACHP Media Monitoring Report: February 1, 2017

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Price confirmation moves out of committee
The Senate Finance Committee has voted to approve the confirmations of HHS Secretary Nominee Rep. Tom Price (R-GA) and Treasury Secretary Nominee Steven Mnuchin. The confirmation followed a rule change by Republicans allowing the committee to proceed with business even if no Democrats were present. Senate Democrats boycotted a committee ruling yesterday, which prevented a vote on the nominees under the previous rules. Peter Schroeder of The Hill reports Mnuchin and Price now head to the full Senate for a final vote on their confirmations.

Ryan says doctors reluctant to accept Medicaid patients
At a recent town hall, House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) said that “more and more doctors just won’t take Medicaid because they lose money on Medicaid.” Michelle Ye Hee Lee at The Washington Post shares A pay raise for primary care doctors under the Affordable Care Act expired in 2015, and 18 states chose to extend the fee bump partially or fully after 2015. Studies at that time showed providers may be less likely to see Medicaid patients due to the reduction in payments.

Aetna considers options after merger trial
A week after a federal judge blocked Aetna’s merger with Humana, Aetna’s earnings have exceeded analysts’ predictions, despite a drop in net income. Aetna Chief Executive Mark T. Bertolini said that avenues for growth for the company include Medicare and Medicaid business as well as its commercial franchise. Aetna is considering appealing the merger ruling. Anna Wilde Mathews and Joshua Jamerson at The Wall Street Journal have the story.

Interstate insurance has poor track record on effectiveness
Most Republican health care reform bills include a provision to allow insurers to sell across state lines. Former Rhode Island Insurance Commissioner Christopher Killer, explains why interstate insurance is often ineffective for patients and consumers to the staff of All Things Considered from NPR.

Hospitals concerned ACA repeal could affect innovation
A repeal of the Affordable Care Act could lead to fewer opportunities for hospitals to experiment with new ways to improve care for patients. Kristin Espeland Gourlay at Kaiser Health News reports hospitals are worried that innovations and progress made in care delivery will be undermined without long-term funding from the federal government to support the programs.