ACHP Media Monitoring Report: May 22, 2017

Want to subscribe to the Media Monitoring Report? Sign up by emailing us at

ACHP in the News: ACHP President and CEO Ceci Connolly discussed how uncertainty about cost-sharing subsidies contribute to an unstable health care market with CNBC and The Hill. Connolly also suggested improvements to and support for the Chronic Care Act to FierceHealthcare.

Member news: John G. Lovelace, President of UPMC Insurance Services Division, testified before the Senate Finance Committee last week on the Chronic Care Act’s ability to provide flexibility in addressing costly conditions through tools like telehealth. The Chronic Care Act would allow MA plans to customize benefits to patient groups’ needs. ACHP sent a letter to the Finance Committee and issued a press release supporting the bill.

UnitedHealth faces Justice Department lawsuit on overbilling accusations
The Justice Department has filed a lawsuit alleging UnitedHealth Group portrayed patients as sicker than they were in order to charge higher fees through the Medicare Advantage (MA) program and generate revenue. The Justice Department believes UnitedHealth overcharged the government more than $3 billion from 2010 to 2015. UnitedHealth disputes the allegations.

CBO to release health care bill score as GOP senators work on latest draft
On Wednesday, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office will release a score of the Republican health care bill passed by the House earlier this month. This score will provide insight into the bill’s effects on coverage and government spending. In order to pass the Senate, the bill must meet strict spending rules, and the CBO score will help Senators currently drafting a bill. Many Republican Senators have expressed concerns about the House bill’s deep cuts to Medicaid which would shift tens of billions of dollars to state governments, quadrupling costs for some states. Consequently, Senate legislation may differ significantly from the House bill to address senators’ concerns.

Court hearing could determine future of ACA cost-sharing subsidies
Reports indicate the Trump administration is planning to ask for a 90 day continuation at a hearing for the lawsuit challenging CSRs today. The administration plans to continue CSR payments during that time. Experts were concerned the administration might drop its defense of the subsidies, effectively ending the program. The administration could lose the case or decide to end the subsidies on its own, and reports indicate President Trump is leaning toward ending the payments in the future.

Trump may be source of instability he cites as evidence of ACA failure
President Trump’s frequent claims that the ACA is collapsing may be creating the very instability cited as evidence for those claims, according to Robert Pear of The New York Times. The president’s criticism of the market has undermined confidence in its stability, and the administration’s unwillingness to commit to cost-sharing subsidies have forced insurers to withdraw from the individual market or hike rates. State officials have drafted solutions to address the market’s instability, but haven’t found anyone in the administration willing to implement those solutions.

ACA repeal has pushed other legislation, including CHIP renewal, off agenda
Focus on a health care bill has forced Congress to postpone other legislative priorities tied to the budget process, including renewing funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). The program is funded through September, but most states have not made budgetary adjustments to compensate for the loss of funds if the program is not renewed on time. CHIP provides coverage for almost 9 million children.