ACHP Media Monitoring Report: March 14, 2017

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Trump’s First 100 Days: The Senate has confirmed Seema Verma as administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services by a 55-43 vote. Verma is known for her work on Medicaid waivers, most notably in Indiana. Read ACHP’s statement.
President Donald Trump has signed an executive order instructing Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney to explore how to reduce waste in the executive branch through the elimination or restructuring of different agencies.

Report finds 24 million could lose health coverage, raises concern among Senators
Under the American Health Care Act, 24 million people could be without health insurance by 2026, according to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO). The report also finds the bill drafted by House Republican leaders would reduce the federal deficit by $337 billion. Federal spending on Medicaid would be 25 percent lower than the current amount, and 14 million fewer people would receive Medicaid benefits. Officials in the Trump administration have suggested the report does not capture a complete picture of their plans to replace the ACA as it does not include regulatory steps that will come later in the replacement process. Thomas Kaplan and Robert Pear of The New York Times have the story.

Loss of health coverage under the American Health Care Act could be even greater than what the CBO has predicted. Paul Demko at Politico reports a White House analysis shows that 26 million people would lose health insurance in the next 10 years, compared to the 24 million the CBO report projects.

Senators are expressing concern over CBO predictions that millions will lose health coverage. Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) has told reporters the analysis signals a chance to improve upon the legislation, and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has said lawmakers will have the opportunity to amend the bill before a final vote. Jordain Carney of The Hill shares that many Republicans remain committed to the bill.

Price pushes innovation waivers as a path to high-risk pools
Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Tom Price has sent a letter to governors encouraging them to apply for state innovation waivers to establish high-risk pools and state-operated reinsurance programs. In the letter, Price indicated pass-through funding to help offset the cost of establishing the programs may be available. Rachel Roubein and Lauren Clason of The Hill Extra report (subscriber’s content).

Justice Department remains opposed to Cigna-Anthem merger under Trump
The change in administration has not affected the Justice Department’s opposition to a merger between Anthem and Cigna. On Monday, federal officials asked an appeals court to sustain a decision blocking the merger on the grounds that it would harm competition and fail to create the efficiencies in the market Anthem claimed. Industry experts had speculated that the inauguration of President Trump might soften the Justice department’s opposition to the merger, writes Erica Teichert of Modern Healthcare.

Health news groups plan to fact-check the debate on health care reform
News organizations STAT News, Kaiser Health News, ProPublica and Vox are working together to fact check politicians’ claims about the pending Republican health care legislation. The publications are asking readers to submit political ads or constituent responses about attempts to repeal the ACA or to pass the GOP replacement. Charles Ornstein of ProPublica explains the project was inspired by misleading assertions in a constituent response from the office of Sen. Roy Blunt (R-MO).