ACHP Media Monitoring Report: November 16, 2016

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ACHP in the News: ACHP President and CEO Ceci Connolly advocated for restoration of Medicare Advantage quality incentive payments in Modern Healthcare.

Presidential Transition Brief
Until inauguration on January 20, ACHP will provide updates on the presidential transition.

– As of last night, President-elect Trump’s transition page on health care highlights allowing insurers to sell across state lines as a top priority. The page also emphasizes modernizing Medicare and expanding flexibility for the states on Medicaid, which mirrors Republican language advocating for a block grant model.

– Democratic leadership elections have been delayed until Wednesday, November 30, raising questions about House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi’s future.

– Representative Tom Price (R-GA) and former Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal are on President-elect Trump’s short list for Health and Human Services secretary. Price is a surgeon, chairs the House Budget Committee and is known as a top Hill voice on ACA repeal. Jindal was formally Secretary of Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals and was a principal advisor to the HHS secretary under President George W. Bush.

-Paul Ryan (R-WI) has retained his position as Speaker of the House. Prior to the election, divisions between Ryan and the Freedom Caucus had led some experts to believe Ryan might be replaced.

– Our sources on the Hill tell us current House Energy and Commerce Chair Rep. Fred Upton (R-MI), who is term limited, may be angling for health subcommittee chair. However, rank-and-file members may oppose this move as he has already been chair of the full committee for the past six years.

Trump administration to bring changes to Medicaid

The future of Medicaid expansion is uncertain, yet some leaders in the new administration may advocate for changes to the program instead of a rollback. Vice President-elect Mike Pence expanded Medicaid eligibility as governor of Indiana, adding conservative elements to the program that focus on personal responsibility. Under a Trump administration, states are likely to have greater leeway in determining how to implement Medicaid programs, reports Robert Pear of The New York Times. Medicaid block grants are a part of Paul Ryan’s ABetter Way plan, and negotiations will need to determine the formula for federal funding to states, if the amount will account for population growth and if state money will go toward the program.

AMA opposes any health care changes that cut coverage
The American Medical Association (AMA) is urging the incoming Trump administration not to make changes to the health care system that could lead to individuals losing insurance. President-elect Trump has vowed to repeal the Affordable Care Act, a law with many provisions the AMA supports, including tax credits and Medicaid expansion. The AMA has expressed approval for the Trump administration’s pledge to streamline rules and regulations, writes Sarah Ferris of The Hill.

Lawsuit could give hint on Trump’s plans for health care
The incoming Trump administration’s reaction to a lawsuit filed by House Republicans could provide insight into President-elect Trump’s plans for health care. In the lawsuit, House Republicans allege the Obama administration overstepped its authority by paying subsidies to lower out-of-pocket costs for low-income Americans, according to the Associated Press. Trump could order the government to drop defense of the suit, which would end the payments. Such an act would undermine a key provision of the Affordable Care Act, which Trump has promised to repeal.

Judge rules against Anthem restraining order
A judge has turned down a California consumer group’s request for a restraining order aimed at preventing Anthem Blue Cross from automatically changing the health plans of about 500,000 consumers to options that do not provide coverage for out-of-network care. According to the court, the plaintiffs were not granted the restraining order as they had not experienced losses from the policies, which will begin January 1. Advocates say the restraining order was filed to prevent harm to consumers. Melody Petersen at the Los Angeles Times has the story.