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ACHP in the News: ACHP President and CEO Ceci Connolly discussed with Politico how uncertainty about the future of the Affordable Care Act is fostering apprehension in the health insurance industry.
Presidential Transition Brief
– President-elect Trump has selected Representative Mike Popeo (R-KS) as Director of the Central Intelligence Agency.
– Army General Jack Keane has declined the position of Secretary of Defense due to personal reasons. General Keane has recommended Marine General James Mattis for the post, and reports suggest Trump is considering Mattis.
– Representative Tim Ryan (D-OH) is challenging Representative Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) for the minority leader position in the House of Representatives. Pelosi has been the House Democrats’ leader since 2003 and was the first female Speaker of the House from 2007-2011.
Pence promises quick action to repeal ACA
The Trump administration will take immediate steps to repeal the Affordable Care Act, according to Vice President-elect Mike Pence. Moves to repeal will likely lead to a showdown with congressional Democrats, who have pledged to support the law. Patrick Temple-West at Politico has the story.
Health care executives want replacement plan for ACA before repeal
Health care leaders around the country are worried plans to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA) could set back progress in insurance coverage. The majority of respondents to a Modern Healthcare survey of industry leaders indicate they are nervous about replacements Trump might enact in place of the ACA. Provided the plan addresses coverage concerns and does not rely too heavily on high-deductible plans, respondents are open to reform under the new administration.
Republicans move to block risk corridor settlements
Proposed Republican legislation would prevent the Obama administration from paying settlements to insurers for shortfalls in risk corridor payments. The risk corridor program shifts money among insurers to compensate insurers who suffer heavy losses while participating in the launch of exchanges. The program did not receive adequate funding, and some insurers are suing for the additional money, writes Peter Sullivan of The Hill.
Trump administration could favor health mergers
President-elect Donald Trump has said he wants less regulation of business, which could change how the government handles the Anthem-Cigna and Aetna-Humana deals. The Justice Department is preparing to argue consolidation of the largest insurance companies would have negative effects for consumers as the Anthem-Cigna merger begins. Reed Abelson at The New York Times shares the Trump administration could play a role in the trials if the initial decisions are appealed.
Anthem-Cigna merger trial underway
The trial to challenge Anthem’s $48 billion acquisition of Cigna begins today. The deal would be the industry’s largest in history; the Justice Department has been aggressively pushing back against the merger through several lawsuits. Brent Kendall and Anna Wile Mathews of The Wall Street Journal explain the trial could mark the Obama administration’s last attempt at antitrust enforcement before President-elect Donald Trump’s inauguration (subscriber’s content).
Hospitals address loneliness among older patients
Hospitals are recruiting volunteers to act as companions and help curb loneliness among older patients. The volunteers are trained in medical confidentiality, emergency situations and elderly patient interaction. A number of studies have linked loneliness to poorer health and earlier death. Ina Jaffe of NPR shares hospitals are developing studies to see if volunteer companionship improves medical outcomes or the patient’s hospital experience.
Our weekly Blog Review features insightful posts from around the web and keeps an eye on medical industry and health news via the Trend Watch. This week we review posts on ways to increase accesses to affordable health care and medications. This week’s Trend Watch compiles posts about health care reform.
What Should a Trump Administration Do On Drug Pricing?
Many individuals with chronic conditions are struggling to afford co-pays for necessary medication. Manhattan Institute for Policy Research Senior Fellow and Director of Health Policy Paul Howard, write that the Trump administration and new Congress should focus on the accessibility of affordable drugs, creating more manufacturing jobs for Americans in the process.
A Portfolio Strategy for Affordable Coverage: Disaggregating Problems, Aggregating Solutions
Addressing the rising costs of employer-sponsored insurance and marketplaces plans must be a priority, according to National Coalition on Health Care President and CEO John Rother and Executive Vice President Mark Goldberg. The authors advocate for a portfolio strategy, as policy options throughout the cost chain will have a greater effect on prices than a strategy focused on just one stage.
Health Care reform
I Read 7 Republican Obamacare Replacement plans. Here’s What I Learned.
Republicans have pledged to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, but GOP leaders have proposed multiple plans. Senior Editor Sarah Kliff breaks down seven different GOP proposals, including Paul Ryan’s A Better Way.
Politics Aside, We Know How to Fix Obamacare
Health economist Austin Frakt believes an expansion of exchange plan subsidies and the renewal of a strong risk corridor are essential to protecting America’s health care system from collapse. Frakt cites Republican efforts in the mid-2000s to address concerns about Medicare Plus as precedent for success.