ACHP Media Monitoring Report: May 8, 2017

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ACA repeal may harm economic growth
Economists are concerned that efforts to repeal the ACA may hurt the economy. The health care industry is a major economic driver, accounting for one in eight private sector jobs and adding jobs at more than three times the rate of the rest of the economy since 2007. Governors and Congressmen on both sides of the aisle have expressed concern. Cuts to federal subsidies and loss of coverage will increase financial insecurity and significantly burden individual consumers. Hospitals – which have seen major demand from coverage expansion and the 20 million people who gained coverage – now face uncertainty. The loss of millions of dollars in federal money to states for Medicaid will significantly impact hospitals, which along with taxpayers will absorb shifted costs.

According to Warren Buffet, health care costs are holding back business growth. Buffet called health costs “the tapeworm of American economic competitiveness.”

GOP health care bill will impact state programs, future in Senate uncertain
The Administration is trying to harness insurance-market woes in some states to encourage passage of the Republican health care bill. White House officials say that more bad news coming from states in the coming weeks would create urgency and could help the bill through the Senate. If the bill becomes law, the 31 states that chose to expand Medicaid will likely end the programs. Few states would be able to financially support the expansion under the GOP legislation. The bill’s cut in federal funds to states could lead to uncompensated care and less access to health coverage for low-income individuals. While House Republicans defended the bill on Sunday news programs, Senate Republicans have insisted they will not take up the legislation, but instead will produce their own bill. Many Senators cite how the House bill would affect Medicaid recipients, insurance costs for people with chronic illness or pre-existing conditions and the ability for states to waive current federal insurance requirements as reasons to start from scratch.

Doctors want to keep protections for pre-existing conditions
A survey of 450 doctors conducted by The Washington Post finds almost all doctors oppose removing protections for pre-existing conditions, regardless of affiliation. Doctors were in favor of protecting pre-existing conditions even if they favored repealing other provisions of the ACA.

Convenience of standalone ERs has high cost
The rapid spread of free-standing emergency rooms has provided wider access to care for many consumers, but the high cost at these facilities may be driving up medical spending. Consumers often receive treatment at standalone emergency departments due to their convenience, not medical necessity, and patients are often surprised by expensive medical bills due to a lack of transparency in cost.