ACHP Media Monitoring Report: November 28, 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 an op-ed in The Hill.

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

President-elect Trump has selected conservative education activist Betsy DeVos as Secretary of Education and Governor Nikki Haley (R-SC) as UN Secretary.

Reports indicate President-elect Trump plans to name investor Wilbur Ross as Secretary of Commerce.

– Ben Carson, M.D., seems to be President-elect Trump’s most likely choice as Secretary of Housing and Urban Development. Carson had previously stated he would not serve a formal role in a Trump administration, citing lack of experience.

– President-elect Trump has named Donald McGahn as White House counsel. McGahn has served three GOP administrations and was general counsel for Trump’s campaign.


Proposed Medicare changes are similar to ACA
House Speaker Paul Ryan is offering a Medicare reform plan similar to the current health law President-elect Trump has promised to dismantle. Alison Kodjak of NPR explains the speaker’s proposal includes a health care exchange that would feature private and government-run plans, similar to the current structure for standard insurance offered under the Affordable Care Act. Individuals would receive subsidies based on income, with lower-income individuals receiving a larger subsidy. Those who choose costlier plans would have to pay the balance. Proposed Medicare changes go into effect in 2024.

Governors will be vocal on health care changes
The National Governor’s Association (NGA) is signaling governors and other state leaders plan to weigh in heavily on potential reforms and replacement plans for the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Disagreements among members of the bipartisanship group mean the NGA is unlikely to recommend any specific policies, but interviews with organizational leaders make it clear governors expect to be consulted on health care reform. The NGA has expressed concerns about the uncertainty around ACA replacement efforts, and has indicated measured, phased-in changes could help avoid upending the industry, writes Sarah Ferris of The Hill.

Republican leaders want to retain expanded Medicaid
Republican leaders in states that expanded Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act are strong proponents of keeping changes to the program. Unlikely advocates for the expansion include early Trump supporter and former Arizona governor Jan Brewer, who accepted the expansion as governor. The Associated Press writes nearly 9 million low-income Americans gained insurance through Medicaid, and without it they cannot afford health care. Elected officials in states who opposed the expansion remain opposed to the program. While serving as governor of Indiana, Vice President-elect Mike Pence was among the Republican governors who accepted Medicaid expansion for his state; he has not commented publicly since the election.

21st Century Cures Act draws heavy lobbying efforts
Almost 1,500 registered lobbyists have attempted to influence the drafting and passage of the 21st Century Cures Act. On Thursday, Congress votes on the bill, which addresses funding for the National Institutes of Health and reforms to Federal Drug Administration approval rules for medical devices and pharmaceuticals. Drug companies, hospitals and universities have expressed support for the legislation, citing reforms to Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval practices as a route to cutting high drug costs. Patients’ advocacy groups oppose the legislation because of concerns changes to FDA rules could imperil patients. Sydney Lupkin of Kaiser Health News has the story.

Private management of managed care plans raises concerns
Many states are turning Medicaid offered managed care programs over to private firms for management. The move is designed to curb costs and make budgeting for the program more predictable going forward. Officials assert private firms enable better coordination, according to Virgil Dickson of Modern Healthcare. Patient advocates have expressed concerns about the changes, arguing private management has resulted in less effective care.

Blog Review

Future of Health Care

The G.O.P. and Health Care Chaos
The New York Times
The New York Times editorial board predicts Donald Trump’s plans for replacing the Affordable Care Act (ACA) will be a “disaster” for American health care. Specifically, the board cites Trump’s promise to dismantle most of the ACA while retaining provisions protecting individuals with pre-existing conditions. The board explains such protections are only viable because of a wider, safer pool of insurance consumers provided by subsidies, the individual mandate and Medicaid expansion.

How One GOP Senator Would Fix Obamacare: Automatically Enroll the Uninsured in Coverage
Republicans are calling for the repeal and replacement of the Affordable Care Act, but have not decided on a replacement. The Sessions-Cassidy bill, named for Representative Pete Sessions (R-TX) and Senator Bill Cassidy (R-LA), introduced last summer, differs from other Republican plans. Senior Editor Sarah Kliff explains the proposed health law would allow states to automatically enroll uninsured individuals in low-cost health plans, placing the responsibility to opt out on the consumer.

Public Health 3.0: A Blueprint for the Future of Public Health
Health Affairs
The health care system is just one factor in improving the well-being of a community. Former American Public Health Association Executive Director Georges C. Benjamin, M.D., and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Acting Assistant Secretary for Health Karen DeSalvo, M.D., MPH, MSc, explain why public health is crucial, listing five necessities to achieve a healthy population: Embrace chief health strategists, engage with stakeholders, strengthen accreditations, establish clear metrics for data and adequately fund public health efforts.

Trend Watch

Addressing Addiction

Vital Signs: Could Healthcare IT Be the Key to Better Addiction Treatment?
Modern Healthcare: Vital Signs
To aid treatment for substance abuse, U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy, M.D. MBA, is advocating for wider implementation of health care IT practices that would enable wider data sharing. Murthy did not address strict privacy rules in place that might limit treatment centers’ ability to follow through on his recommendation. Reporter Joseph Conn shares patients often receive better care if their records are more accessible to providers, yet individuals tend to avoid treatment if they feel their information will be shared.

Will the Trump Administration Address the Addiction Crisis?
The Hill
According to a report from the U.S. Surgeon General, the nation is facing an addiction crisis. Attorney and author Brian Cuban urges President-elect Donald Trump to address the high rates of substance abuse through both regulation and funding.