ACHP Media Monitoring Report: May 24, 2017

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CBO analysis of Republican health care plan out today
The Congressional Budget Office will release its score of the health care reform bill passed by the House earlier this month. The nonpartisan report will provide insight into the bill’s effects on coverage, premiums and federal spending. The report can serve as a starting point for Senate Republicans, who are considering changing the House bill’s Medicaid cuts, tax credits and other policies.

State leaders see Medicaid changes at state level
The Trump administration’s budget restructures Medicaid, cutting the program’s spending by hundreds of billions of dollars. However, many state Medicaid directors are skeptical the administration will able to enact broad changes to the program. Most expect Congress to ignore the President’s budget or believe the Senate will moderate Republican plans for health care reform.

But directors do believe the administration will allow greater customization in the program. Leaders in conservative states plan to submit waiver requests that would allow them to implement conservative provisions like work requirements. The website Governing explores how six conservative states might try to alter their Medicaid programs.

Big insurers post record profitability under ACA
The first quarter of 2017 was the best cumulative earnings period for the five largest for-profit insurers since the ACA took effect. Four of the five companies reported profits for the first quarter; Aetna was the only one to suffer a loss, due to a $1 billion break-up fee after a failed merger with Humana.

California purchasers take aim at unnecessary tests and treatments
According to some experts, up to $200 billion a year is spent on superfluous medical tests or treatments. Purchasers in California are trying to curb spending by identifying and urging patients and providers to avoid unnecessary procedures. The task is more difficult than it seems, as purchasers have struggled to challenge existing habits.

Diversity promotion and rural hospitals face cuts in Trump budget
If enacted, President Trump’s budget would have an adverse effect on rural hospitals and the recruitment of black and Hispanic health care professionals. The proposal includes spending cuts for rural hospital grants and ends funding for diversity promotion programs. While the president offers spending recommendations, Congress is responsible for drafting the final budget. Key legislators have asserted the final budget will not reflect the administration’s recommendations.