ACHP Media Monitoring Report: November 30, 2016

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ACHP in the News: FierceHealthcare reports on ACHP President and CEO Ceci Connolly’s participation in Politico Pro’s drug costs panel.

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

– President-elect Donald Trump plans to name financier Steve Mnunchin as Treasury Secretary and billionaire investor Wilbur Ross as Commerce Secretary.

– Sander Levin (D-MI) has announced he will be stepping down as the ranking member on the House Ways and Means Committee. Reps. Xavier Becerra (D-CA) and Richard Neal (D-MA) have both announced they will be vying for the role.

– Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) has retained her position as Minority Leader.

Trump’s health care appointments signal repeal of ACA
President-elect Donald Trump’s selections for health secretary and administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) have both advocated for changing Medicare, incorporating personal responsibility into Medicaid and repealing the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Trump has appointed Rep. Tom Price (R-GA) as head of the Department of Health and Human Services and Seema Verma to lead CMS; together the nominations signal Trump’s intentions to dismantle the ACA assert Amy Goldstein and Elise Viebeck of The Washington Post.

The confirmation of Rep. Tom Price (R-GA) seems likely, indicating President-elect Donald Trump will work with House Republicans and Speaker Paul Ryan to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA). According to experts, Price’s nomination signals the process of replacing the ACA will be driven by the House. Sarah Ferris of The Hill shares Price, a former orthopedic surgeon, has been committed to repealing the ACA.

Trump appointments may slow ACA repeal
President-elect Donald Trump’s selection of two individuals active in health care has some in the industry thinking Trump will not immediately repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA). With Seema Verma leading the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, sources for government reimbursement could continue to increase. Caroline Humer from Reuters shares the new administration’s goal is to ensure as many individuals as possible maintain coverage while a repeal of the ACA takes place over a roughly three-year period.

USPTF faces procedural questions from House committee
The House Subcommittee on Health will hold hearings today to assess the performance of the U.S. Preventive Service Task Force. The task force provides recommendations on health care best practices and influences what treatments insurers must cover under the Affordable Care Act, according to Stat News. Some physicians have disagreed with past recommendations, prompting the subcommittee to consider legislation that would revise the group’s procedures for creating recommendations.

Removing transparency exemption reverses Grassley on Cures
Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) has dropped his opposition to the 21st Century Cures Act after a controversial provision around payment transparency was removed from the bill. InsideHealthPolicy explains the bill no longer includes language exempting medical device and drug makers from disclosing payments to health care providers for educational purpose (subscriber’s content).

Cures provision aids low-quality MA plans
Among the nearly 1,000 pages of the 21st Century Cures Act is a provision preventing the federal government from removing the worst performers in Medicare Advantage (MA) through 2018. Currently, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) is allowed to nix MA plans that do not receive at least three out of a possible five stars once within three consecutive years. The provision, which was not included in the original bill last year, would prevent CMS from eliminating the lowest-quality plans from the program, according to Bob Herman at Modern Healthcare.
Women’s health benefits may change under Trump
Before the Affordable Care Act (ACA), women paid more for health coverage, and some worry women may lose coverage for certain benefits under a Trump administration. Under the ACA, preventive, maternity and contraceptive services have been included in health coverage without copays. Michelle Andrews at NPR writes in an effort to repeal and replace the current health law, Trump may rewrite or not enforce current regulations around women’s health.