ACHP Media Monitoring Report: February 27, 2017

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Member highlight: President Trump met with insurance industry leaders this afternoon to discuss health care reform. Trump hopes to convince insurers to support efforts to replace the Affordable Care Act, reports Stephanie Armour, Anna Wilde Mathews and Michelle Hackman of The Wall Street Journal. Bernard Tyson, CEO of ACHP member Kaiser Permanente, will be in attendance (subscriber’s content).

Report talks about effects of ACA repeal
A report from consulting firms Avalere Health and McKinsey & Company finds proposals for cutting spending for Medicaid and subsidized private insurance could result in funding gaps and the loss of health insurance for many individuals. The Associated Press reports the effects of the funding cuts would compound over time.

GOP leaders eye alternative to preexisting conditions protections
Congressional Republicans are weighing changes to the regulation protecting patients with preexisting conditions in their ACA replacement. GOP leaders are considering adding a requirement that individuals with preexisting conditions maintain continuous coverage in order to retain the protection. If an individual drops off insurance, they would lose the protection and have the option of purchasing a plan as part of a high-risk pool. Carla Johnson and Ricardo Alons-Zaldivar of The Associated Press have the story.

Republicans exploring compromise on Medicaid funding
GOP leaders are considering a compromise measure on how to address funding for the Medicaid expansion rolled out under the ACA. Under the proposal, Medicaid funding would continue at existing levels to ensure coverage for current beneficiaries, but states would not receive funding to cover new enrollees. The plan would also provide additional Medicaid funding to states that rejected the Medicaid expansion. According to Amy Goldstein and Juliet Eilperin of The Washington Post, the change would set the board for adjusting Medicaid to a per capita funding system.

Oregon Republican may be key figure in health care debate
As chair of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, Rep. Greg Walden (R-OR) will play a central role in Republican health care reform efforts. Almost 95 percent of Oregonians have health insurance, up from only 80 percent before the ACA was implemented, reports Robert Pear of The New York Times. Most of the enrollment boost comes from Medicaid, which covers roughly one out of three of Walden’s constituents.

Governors disagree on Medicaid
After a closed-door meeting at the National Governors Association’s winter meeting Saturday, governors said they still lacked an answer about the future of Medicaid. Republicans are torn on whether to continue providing funding for states that expanded Medicaid to include those with incomes a third more than the federal poverty level. Louise Radnofsky and Michelle Hackman at The Wall Street Journal have the story (subscriber’s content).

During the Governors’ meeting, Democrats claimed a Republican plan to overhaul Medicaid would take away health coverage to allow for tax cuts to the wealthy. The Associated Press reports some Democratic governors believe they can win over Republicans who have been facing questions from constituents at town halls.

A draft of policy demands to Congress from the Republican Governors Public Policy Committee shows a lack of consensus on policy issues. Sarah Kliff of Vox reports that leaked documents demonstrate Republican governors support a Medicaid block grant model but have not decided how to handle the loss of health coverage for individuals who signed up for Medicaid under the expansion.


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 about Republicans’ plans for Medicaid. This week’s Trend Watch compiles posts discussing biosimilars.

ACA Repeal

The GOP’s Obamacare replacement comes into view
Washington Post
Opinion Writer Greg Sargent provides a detailed breakdown of changes to Medicaid under Republicans’ tentative plan to replace the ACA. Sargent notes a per capita funding system would likely cut funding for Medicaid systems and explores how different iterations of the plan might affect states and beneficiaries.

Medicaid block grants — bigger threat to US healthcare than ACA repeal
The Hill
Lutheran Services President Charlotte Haberaecker believes changes to Medicaid favored by Republican legislators are the greatest threat to the American health care system. Haberaecker asserts a shift to block grant or per capita systems will harm children and seniors and undermine innovation.


Trend Watch


FDA Must Forge Ahead With Biosimilar Drug Review
Morning Consult
The Food and Drug Administration must balance the safety of consumers with access to new treatments, according to Rheumatologist Angus Worthing, M.D. Dr. Worthing is a transparency advocate and believes Congress should dedicate a program to biosimilar review.

What’s New With Biosimilars?
Pharmacy Times
Contributor Joanna Lewis, PharmD, MBA, gives an update on new developments in the biosimilar market. The FDA has released guidance recently on interchangeability and naming products, and more than 50 biosimilar trials are currently under way in the U.S.