ACHP Media Monitoring Report – July 27, 2017

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ACHP in the News: Insurers are in the final stretch finalizing rates for the 2018 open-enrollment period, and the Administration’s month-by-month decision to fund cost-sharing reductions is causing uncertainty. ACHP President and CEO Ceci Connolly said plans could face significant financial losses if they are overly optimistic about CSR funding.

Senate rejects full ACA repeal, considers eliminating individual mandate
On Wednesday, the Senate voted against a full repeal of the ACA, but lawmakers are still considering a “skinny repeal” of the health law. The proposal would eliminate the individual and employer mandates as well as the tax on medical devices. Key committee chairs and GOP leaders have yet to take a formal position on the proposal. While a scaled-back option, the skinny repeal could result in higher premiums and decreased enrollment by not providing incentives for healthy people to purchase health coverage and remain insured. The CBO estimates eliminating the individual mandate would result in 15 million fewer people insured than under the ACA.

Health care sector underinvests in cybersecurity despite growing threats
The number of cybersecurity threats to hospitals has increased as has the cost of mitigating each data breach, averaging $355 per stolen record. Yet the health care industry devotes an average of just six percent of IT budgets to cybersecurity. Experts say recruiting a health care cybersecurity candidate is difficult because the job requires understanding medical devices, software and complicated regulations.

Patients facing high deductibles postpone care 
The number of patients struggling to pay their deductibles increased nine percent in the last two years, and many report delaying necessary treatment. A recent study found that people with high-deductible plans spent 42 percent less on health care before meeting their deductibles. The decreased spending was a result of reducing the amount of care received, not shopping for a better price. The use of high-deductible plans is expected to increase as health care costs rise.

Yelp partners with California Health Care Foundation on maternity care
Yelp will begin displaying maternity care measures for 250 California hospitals that deliver babies. Yelp is partnering with California Health Care Foundation and Cal Hospital Compare to publish a delivery system’s C-section, breastfeeding and episiotomy rates. One in eight babies in the US is born in California, and evidence suggests a woman’s chance of having a C-section depends on the hospital and practices of the clinical team.

Amazon has secret team dedicated to health care technology
Amazon started a secret team focusing on opportunities in health care, particularly electronic medical records and telemedicine. The group is also exploring health applications for existing Amazon products like Echo and Dash Wand. The team is called 1492, which is a reference to the year Christopher Columbus landed in the Americas.