ACHP Media Monitoring Report: February 22, 2017

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Administration and House request delay in subsidy lawsuit
The U.S. House of Representatives and the Justice Department have filed a joint motion requesting additional time to consider how to proceed with the House’s pending lawsuit challenging Affordable Care Act (ACA) cost-sharing subsidies. The House filed the original lawsuit against the Obama administration on the grounds that the president had exceeded his authority by authorizing the payments without Congress providing specific appropriations for them. House leadership is now considering dropping the suit and passing a funding bill to authorize the subsidies to stabilize the ACA individual marketplace. Jessie Helllman of The Hill reports.

CMS pushes back deadlines for rate filings
The Trump administration plans to extend the deadline for insurers to file their rates for the 2018 coverage year, according to a draft notice released by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. The extension comes as the Trump administration moves to stabilize the individual marketplace while Congress considers replacements for the ACA, writes Virgil Dickinson of Modern Healthcare. Analysts say the changes, while positive, may do little to address the uncertainty in the marketplace, particularly around premium subsidies.

GOP considers relaxing premium regulations for older Americans
Republicans are weighing changes to insurance regulations that would allow insurers to charge older Americans higher premiums. Insurers are currently permitted to charge older Americans three times as much. Jordan Rau and Julie Appleby of Kaiser Health News report Republicans may allow insurers to charge older Americans up to five times more than what they charge young adults, a shift that could lead to double-digit premium hikes. The insurance industry supports relaxing the age rules because they say the change will allow them to lower premium prices for younger consumers.

Expanded coverage but higher costs drives divide over ACA
Passage of the ACA has expanded coverage, but premium and deductible increases have frustrated many Americans. Research from Avalere Health reveals low-income Americans have benefitted the most from the law because it has provided coverage that used to be out of reach. However, many healthy Americans are frustrated that their costs have gone up due to a less healthy risk pool and an expansion of required benefits. The Associated Press explores the effects of the health law and the dueling perspectives on America’s health care system.

CMS aims to expand CPC Plus, change payments
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) is looking to grow its pilot program, Comprehensive Primary Care Plus (CPC Plus), which aims to lower costs and improve health outcomes. The agency is now considering selectively paying some participating providers, which could deter involvement in the program, according to Virgil Dickson of Modern Healthcare. Participation in the first round of the program was not as high as anticipated; CMS expected about 5,000 providers to join, but only close to 3,000 took part. The second round of CPC Plus will begin in January 2018.

More voters favor ACA
Support for the ACA is on the rise, according to a new Politico/Morning Consult poll. Registered voters are now evenly divided on support for the health law, with 45 percent both approving and disapproving. In early January, 41 percent of voters reported being in favor of the law. Steven Shepard at Politico has the story.