ACHP Media Monitoring Report: November 8, 2016

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ACA website experiencing delays
Consumers looking to purchase health insurance via healthcare.gov, the Affordable Care Act website, are frequently being sent to waiting rooms on the site to prevent the system from crashing. The waiting rooms, which signal the site is at capacity, have been deployed much earlier in the sign-up season than previous years. According to Louise Radnofsky at The Wall Street Journal, many groups have not yet started their biggest push for enrollment, which will create increased activity on the site (subscriber’s content).

Governors’ races could lead to new Medicaid markets
The outcomes of three gubernatorial races may lead to Medicaid expansion. Democratic candidates in Missouri, North Carolina and Utah all support expanding Medicaid under provisions of the Affordable Care Act. Sarah Ferris of The Hill reports almost 2 million people would be eligible to join the program if all three candidates win and enact the change.

Health coverage to help combat opioid abuse
The Obama administration is increasing enforcement of parity laws and calling for insurers to treat substance abuse as a mental illness. More than 40 million people face mental health issues each year; about half have a substance-abuse disorder. Robert Pear of The New York Times explains parity laws will aid in the fight against the opioid epidemic.

Shortage of primary-care physicians spurs medical schools to action
Medical schools are beginning to offer financial aid packages to students who are willing to become primary-care physicians after graduating. Schools are also trying to bolster the position’s reputation, which is often seen as less prestigious than specialist roles. The programs are aimed at curbing an imminent shortage: Some experts predict the United States will see a shortfall of more than 30,000 primary-care doctors by 2025, according to Maria Castellucci of Modern Healthcare.

California hospital network revokes lawsuit rights
Insurance administrators have sent letters to dozens of companies in California asking them to waive their rights to sue health care provider Sutter Health. If employers do not comply, they will no longer receive discounted services at Sutter-affiliated hospitals and facilities. According to economists, Sutter prevents lawsuits in order to charge higher prices for services. April Dembosky of KQED has the story.