ACHP Media Monitoring Report: January 3, 2017

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ACHP in the News: ACHP President and CEO Ceci Connolly explains to Harris Meyer of Modern Healthcare how uncertainty could undermine the health care industry. The piece explores the political landscape for health care in 2017, including the challenges Republicans may face in repealing the Affordable Care Act and the potential effects of undoing the health law.

In their December 23 daily newsletter, Wisconsin Health News provided a quick overview of a meeting between House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI), ACHP President and CEO Ceci Connolly and Group Health South Central Wisconsin CEO Mark Huth, M.D. The three discussed the potential effects of uncertainty in the marketplace.

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

– President-elect Donald Trump has chosen Robert Lighthizer as the United States Trade Representative. Lighthizer previously served in the Reagan administration and is an international trade attorney.

– Democrats say they are planning to delay the confirmation of eight nominees for cabinet level positions in the Trump administration, including Health and Human Services nominee Tom Price and Secretary of State nominee Rex Tillerson. Because Democrats do not control the Senate, it is unlikely they will be able to vote down any of the candidates.


GOP senators and representatives split over Medicare
Republican leaders in the House and Senate are divided over whether Medicare should be included in efforts to reform the nation’s health care system. House leaders are pushing for a complete overhaul, including long sought-after changes to the Medicare program. GOP senators are worried about the political fallout Medicare reform may cause and want to focus their efforts more narrowly on repealing the Affordable Care Act. Alexander Bolton of The Hill has the story.

Party leaders begin to strategize ACA next steps
President Barack Obama plans to meet with Congressional Democrats tomorrow to discuss strategies for preventing the repeal of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Emily Shultheis of CBS News shares Obama will visit the Capitol to meet with all Senate and House Democrats.

At the same time, Vice President-elect Mike Pence plans to  meet with Republicans tomorrow to discuss plans for dismantling the health care law. Pence will meet with all elected Republicans in Congress, reports Rachel Bade of Politico. Republicans have pledged to repeal the ACA once President-elect Donald Trump takes office.

Paul calls for replacement plan to accompany repeal of ACA
Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) is asking his fellow Republicans draft a replacement health plan before repealing the Affordable Care Act. Paul believes voters will be unforgiving to Republicans if the health care marketplace experiences disruption while lawmakers draft replacement legislation, writes David Wright of CNN.

GOP concerned about ACA lawsuit
House Republicans are worried about the outcome of a lawsuit challenging key provisions of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The lawsuit alleges the Obama administration overstepped its authority by providing subsidies to low-income and moderate-income Americans. If the GOP wins the suit, the executive branch would be forced to stop paying subsidies, which could cause significant disruption in the health care marketplace. Carl Hulse of The New York Times explains Congress may be forced to appropriate emergency funding.

Physician groups ask for responsible approach to health care reform
Physician specialty groups representing more than 400,000 doctors are urging Congress to proceed cautiously with health care reform. The organizations assert Congress should not repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA) until a replacement plan  has been drafted, according to Bruce Jaspen of Forbes. The groups – including  American Academy of Family Physicians, the Americna Academy of Pediatrics, the American College of Physicians, and the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists – are also calling on Republicans to create health care policies preserving the expansion of health coverage resulting from the Affordable Care Act.

HHS nominee Price traded health care stocks while in office
Representative Tom Price (R-GA), Donald Trump’s nominee for secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS), has traded stocks in health-related companies while serving in office. Over the past four years, Price has bought and sold stock in about 40 health-care related companies, including pharmaceutical and biomedical companies. Over that same time, he has been a sponsor or cosponsor of more than 40 bills related to health care regulation. If confirmed, Price would be required to sell stocks in any companies regulated by HHS. James Grimaldi and Michelle Hackman of The Wall Street Journal report.

Doctors in dispute over Price nomination
The U.S. medical community is divided by the nomination of Rep. Tom Price (R-GA), M.D., as secretary of Health and Human Services. The American Medical Association (AMA) has endorsed Price’s selection, asserting the representative’s background as a doctor will make him a strong advocate for physicians. Thousands of AMA members have objected to the endorsement, citing Price’s policy positions, explains Robert Pear of The New York Times.