ACHP Media Monitoring Report – June 13, 2017

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Senate may be reaching compromise on health care bill
Senate Republicans are downplaying expectations for passing a health care reform bill, but at the same time are inching toward a deal. Republicans who had objected to rolling back the ACA Medicaid expansion have proposed a slower phase-out over seven years, providing a potential compromise . Gov. John Kasich (R-OH), a vocal critic of the House bill’s drastic cuts to Medicaid, has announced that he supports the phase out proposal, provided Congress gives states additional flexibility and adequate resources. Reports indicate the Senate will not release a bill to the public until just before the vote. Republicans hope to vote on the bill before the July 4th recess.

Almost 2 million Americans dropped ACA coverage between January and March 2017
Of the 12.2 million people who enrolled in an ACA exchange plan during 2017 open enrollment, 10.3 million have paid their premiums and had active plans by March 15. CMS cited high costs and lack of affordability as reasons consumers did not keep their coverage; a separate CMS report on enrollment trends indicated that the number of individuals with employer-sponsored plans has risen.

Iowa wants to restructure ACA to draw in insurers
Iowa Insurance Commissioner Doug Ommen is asking permission from the federal government to alter the structure of its ACA exchanges in order attract insurers to the state. No insurer has committed to offering plans in Iowa in 2018. Under the proposal, Iowa would establish a reinsurance program and change premium subsidies into tax credits based on age and income. Insurers would only offer a silver level equivalent plan.

Price Waterhouse Cooper releases Cost Trend Report
Medical costs will rise between 6 and 7 percent in 2018, according to annual Cost Trend Report released by Price Waterhouse Cooper’s Health Research Institute. The report analyzes and identifies key drivers of health care cost increases, including a noncompetitive drug market due to restrictive patents.

Analysis: Educating providers on procedure prices doesn’t cut costs
Aaron Carroll at the NY Times Upshot analyzed several studies on the cost savings from educating doctors on procedures. Informing providers about the costs of procedures and treatments has been considered an effective tool to cut costs, but recent studies have found that there is no consistent change in ordering tests when doctors are exposed to the price of the procedure.