ACHP Media Monitoring Report: January 12, 2017

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

– President-elect Donald Trump met with two candidates for Director of the National Institute of Health (NIH) last night: current NIH Director Francis Collins, M.D, and Representative Andy Harris, M.D. (R-MD). Collins has served as NIH Director for the past eight years. Rep. Harris is an obstetric anesthesiologist, and is the only member of Congress to have conducted NIH-funded research.

– Confirmation hearings for President-elect Trump’s cabinet nominees continue. The first hearing for Secretary of Health and Human Services nominee Rep.Tom Price(R-GA) is scheduled tentatively for January 18 with the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Comittee. Politico has created an annotated schedule of the hearings.

Senate begins ACA repeal by passing budget resolution
The Senate has begun the process of repealing the Affordable Care Act by passing a budget resolution instructing Congressional committees to draft legislation repealing the health law. The resolution passed in a 51-48 vote along partisan lines. The House of Representatives will vote on the measure Friday, reports Kelly Snell and Mike Debonis of The Washington Post.

Before the Senate vote, a group of Republican Senators who had introduced an amendment to alter a key deadline withdrew the amendment last night. Senator Bob Corker (R-TN) announced the decision after “thoughtful conversations” with fellow Republicans. According to Jordan Cairney of The Hill, Republican leaders have signaled the January deadline is flexible and they are open to providing additional time for legislators to repeal the law.

Freedom Caucus chair: replacement must accompany ACA repeal
Republicans need to have a replacement plan before repealing the Affordable Care Act (ACA), Representative Mark Meadows (R-NC), Chairman of the House Freedom Caucus, told reporters Wednesday. Eli Yokley of Modern Healthcare notes Meadows emphasized he was speaking only for himself and not the caucus, which consists of more than three dozen conservative lawmakers. Meadows did not indicate how he plans to vote on the reconciliation bill being considered by the House on Friday.

Trump pledges to introduce a replacement plan for ACA
Donald Trump promises Republicans will replace the Affordable Care Act at the same time the law is repealed. In his Wednesday press conference, Trump also indicated his administration would introduce its own health care plan, writes Jennifer Haberkorn and Paul Demko of Politico. Republicans have yet to coalesce around a replacement for the ACA.

Republicans weighing options for Medicaid reform
Congressional Republicans may omit language affecting the Medicaid expansion when they vote on repealing the Affordable Care Act (ACA). GOP leaders on Capitol hill hope to restructure the program but have not decided whether to implement a block-grant system or per-capita caps. A number of GOP governors have expressed concern over a potential rollback of the Medicaid expansion. Susannah Luthi of Inside Health Policy has the story (subscriber’s content).

Trump’s entitlement promise cause tension on Capitol Hill
Donald Trump’s pledge not to cut Medicare spending is causing consternation among Capitol Hill Republicans. Trump publicly promised to protect Medicare multiple times throughout the campaign, a position reinforced by incoming White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus last Sunday. Republican lawmakers claim Medicare reform is necessary to help secure the long-term fiscal solvency  of entitlement programs, explains Scott Wong of The Hill.

ACA repeal may hurt remote hospitals
Rural hospitals may suffer if efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA) are successful, according to analysis by Shefali Luthra of Kaiser Health News. Hospitals in rural areas tend to serve lower-income populations with a higher rate of Medicaid enrollment. Many rely on Medicaid and other state funding to remain financially viable

Studies of Note

In this feature, the Media Monitoring Report shares a selection of notable research studies within the health care industry.

Drug Approval

Today’s New Drugs Come Through the Pipeline No Faster than 20 Years Ago, Report Finds
STAT News Plus
January 9, 2017
While new drugs are reaching the market faster than they were a few years ago, approval still takes as long as it did roughly two decades ago, a report issued by STAT News and QunitilesIMS finds. QuintileIMS Institute Executive Director Murray Aiken, who led preparation of the report, attributes the timeframe to high evidentiary standards and a static approach to clinical development over the past decades.

ACA and Preventive Medicine

Cancer Preventive Services, Socioeconomic Status, and the Affordable Care Act
January 9, 2017
A study led by University Hospitals Cleveland Medical Center Gastroenterology Program Director Gregory Cooper, M.D., found Affordable Care Act provisions eliminating out-of-pocket expenditures increased the number of woman receiving mammograms. The same provisions also eliminated out-of-pocket costs for colonoscopies, but there was no significant change in the number of individuals who received a colonoscopy.

Medicaid and Community Care

At Federally Funded Health Centers, Medicaid Expansion Was Associated With Improved Quality Of Care
Health Affairs  
January 2017
Federally funded community centers located in states that accepted the Affordable Care Act Medicaid expansion performed higher on quality care measures than those located in states that refused the expansion. The centers had higher performance measures on asthma treatment, Pap testing, body mass index assessment and hypertension control. The study was led by Brown University Department of Health Services, Policy and Practice PhD Candidate Megan Cole (subscriber’s content).