ACHP Media Monitoring Report: March 15, 2017

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Trump’s First 100 Days: Eric Hargan will serve as Deputy Secretary of Health and Human Services. Based in Chicago, Hargan is a shareholder in the health and FDA business practice of Greenberg Traurig.

GOP plan could encourage sale of high-deductible plans
The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office is forecasting an increase in use of high-deductible plans. Under the Republican replacement for the ACA, insurers will not be required to sell plans covering a set percentage of costs, and individuals will receive smaller tax credits to offset health care expenses. These two factors could make lower premium, high deductible plans more appealing to both consumers and insurers. Carolyn Y. Johnson at The Washington Post has the story.

Health coverage estimate based on definition of insurance
Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services Tom Price has refuted the CBO’s findings that 24 million Americans would lose health coverage under the American Health Care Act. Alison Kodjak at NPR shares the GOP plan was analyzed based on the current law, and that the stripped-down health plans Republicans are looking to allow insurers to offer might not be deemed health insurance in the analysis.

White House rallies for health plan as allies express skepticism
Even as the White House advocates for the bill, some allies of the president are publicly questioning the legislation. Several conservative commentators and thought leaders say the bill is politically disastrous and breaks key campaign promises the president made, including vows to not cut Medicaid and providing universal coverage. Many are urging the president to scrap the legislation and look at alternative paths for health care reform, write Robert Costa and Phillip Rucker of The Washington Post.

GOP plan would shrink Medicare trust fund
The Medicare trust fund that provides benefits to hospitals could be in jeopardy under the Republican plan to replace the ACA. Christine Ayala at The Hill Extra shares the revenue cuts to the fund included in the plan could possibly result in hospital reimbursement cuts (subscriber’s content).

Stocks in hospitals and insurers drop after CBO score
Hospitals and health insurers saw their shares fall the day after the CBO released a report predicting millions would lose health insurance coverage under the Republican health care plan. Analysts attribute the slide to worries about the impact of the legislation and uncertainty about the future of the proposal, reports Reuters.

Public opinion on GOP health care plan muddled
Two new polls show Americans are divided by the Republican plan to replace the ACA. In a breakdown of today’s Kaiser Family Foundation poll, Jordan Rau of Kaiser Health News explains almost half of Americans believe the Republican health care plan will increase costs and decrease coverage, and barely one-fourth of respondents expect premiums to drop.

Meanwhile, a Morning Consult/Politico poll shows a third of voters think the American Health Care Act will make the U.S. health care system better and one third think it will be worse. Mary Ellen McIntire of Morning Consult notes a key provision allowing insurers to apply a surcharge to customers who do not maintain continuous coverage is particularly unpopular, with nearly two-thirds of respondents disapproving of the measure.

Both polls were conducted prior to the CBO forecast for the legislation.

Apologies reduce medical malpractice lawsuits
More hospitals are offering apologies and compensation to patients when medical errors happen to mitigate malpractice suits. The federal Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality is promoting a model for handling medical mistakes that includes an investigation of errors that is shared with the patient, an apology and compensation for harm. Sandra G. Boodman at Kaiser Health News explains the program has greatly reduced the number of medical malpractice lawsuits.