ACHP Media Monitoring Report: May 30, 2017

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GOP bill raises issue of who determines pre-existing conditions
Under the House-passed health care bill, many patients with pre-existing conditions could be priced out of the market. The Republican bill also calls into question who determines what constitutes a pre-existing condition. Before the ACA, many insurers included individuals in high-risk pools based on common conditions. Leaving the decision about who to exclude solely to insurers could leave many patients vulnerable and without coverage.

Rule change to bypass Healthcare.gov raises consumer advocacy concerns
Consumer advocates are worried about a rule change that allows insurers and brokers to directly enroll people in health plans. Advocates are concerned that without visiting Healthcare.gov to enroll, consumers won’t get all the facts they need to make informed decisions. Brokers have to display all plans on the marketplace, but may provide more details about plans that pay a commission.

GOP Governors divided over fate of Medicaid
Republican governors are split over proposals to restructure and cut funding for Medicaid. Most governors who expanded Medicaid oppose the spending cuts in the House bill, whereas leaders in states that did not expand favor changing the program. Michelle Hackman of The Wall Street Journal explores four Governors’ stance on the issue and how they could influence the Republican health care bill.

Indiana seeks work requirement for Medicaid
Indiana plans to ask the Trump Administration for permission to include a work requirement for Medicaid beneficiaries. Enrollees would need to be employed or looking for a job to receive benefits under the plan.

Cassidy committed to shaping health care
Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-LA), a former liver doctor, who has practiced for decades, is leading what is effectively a shadow group to McConnell’s original band of 13. Unlike the GOP leadership’s group, Cassidy’s includes women — and Democrats – and has met to explore concepts outside of the mainstream. Cassidy is in a position to play a pivotal role in reforming the nation’s health care system. He has also proposed his own bill with Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME), which would allow states to keep components of the ACA or design their own programs.

Mental Health Czar pick emphasizes medical treatment model
The Trump Administration intends to nominate Elinore F. McCance-Katz for the newly created position of mental health czar, responsible for overhauling the federal mental health care system. Dr. McCance-Katz is a psychiatrist who has spent much of her career focused on treating drug addiction. The choice of nominee has been divisive. Dr. McCance-Katz has promoted a medical model for addiction treatment, which recommends drug and hospital treatment, as opposed to a psychosocial approach, which emphasizes community care and support from family and friends.

Series offers in-depth look at behavioral health
A series from Modern Healthcare explores the relationship between behavioral health and chronic disease. The interactive tool chronicles the struggles of the mental health system, the role of primary care and how policy can improve mental health care.

MedPAC gets two new members
The Government Accountability Office has named two new members to the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (MedPAC), a panel of health care experts who advise Congress on Medicare. Harvard Professor David Grabowski, Ph.D., and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts Vice President Dana Safran, Sc.D. will serve on the board until 2020.