ACHP Media Monitoring Report: October 10, 2016

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Clinton advocates for ACA reform, Trump for repeal
In last night’s second debate, presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump each presented aspects of his or her health care plan. Clinton believes sections of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) need to be reworked, but wants to preserve and expand on the core of the law. Trump wants to repeal the ACA and allow insurers to sell plans across state borders in order to spur competition.

When insurers leave exchange, government may choose plan
To ensure continuity of coverage, the federal government will be selecting health insurance plans for consumers whose insurers have left the exchange and have not yet made a new selection. Robert Pear of The New York Times explains many may find the shift frustrating as they come to realize it has left them with new providers, benefits and premiums. Individuals may opt out of the program by selecting a new insurer or leaving the marketplace.

Mental health is next for big reform
Lawmakers and advocacy groups are optimistic Congress will pass legislation approving more funds for treatment and prevention of mental illnesses. Roughly $200 billion was spent treating mental health issues in 2016,  according to Harris Meyer of Modern Healthcare.

Health care industries has fewer mergers in 2016
In 2016, there have been half as many mergers and acquisitions as there were in 2015. Chelsea Naso of Health Law 360 explains the decrease may be linked to the U.S. corporate tax regime and a tightening antitrust environment (subscriber’s content).

Californians see premiums jump
Premium costs for plans offered by Covered California, the state’s health plan exchange, are rising by more than 10 percent on average. The cost increase varies widely from plan to plan and state officials recommend Californians compare plans to avoid the steepest price hikes. Emily Bazar of California Healthline has the story.

Blog Review

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 covering renewed calls from some Democrats for a public option on the exchanges. This week’s Trend Watch compiles posts discussing the benefits and challenges of right-to-try legislation.

Public Option

The Health Care ‘Public Option’ is Back. Can It Help Obamacare?
The Upshot
Reporter Reed Abelson and domestic correspondent Margot Sanger-Katz explore what the return of a public option could mean for the health care industry. The discussion focuses on different models for a government-run insurance program, the benefits and drawbacks of those models and how the market might respond to a public option.

The Public Option Rides Again
Pacific Research Institute President Sally Pipes believes a public option would imperil private insurers and prevent fair competition on the exchanges. Pipes asserts a government-run program would not have to turn a profit and could set prices lower than any insurer, putting private plans at an unfair disadvantage.

Trend Watch

Right-to-Try Legislation

The Proposed Federal ‘Right-to-Try’ Law is Not the Answer for Critically Ill Patients
Health Affairs
Temple University Biological Anthropology Professor Emeritus Jonathan Friedlaender outlines his concerns with right-to-try laws, which are intended to grant critically ill patients access to medications not yet approved by the Food and Drug Administration. Friedlaender explains encouraging drug company participation, determining financial responsibility for experimental therapies and defining which patients can use the drugs all pose challenges to implementing the legislation, as these elements are not written into the bills.

A Fight for New Rights
The Hill
Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association Foundation Executive Vice President Donald J. Mihalek writes people instead of politics should motivate public officials to support right-to-try legislation. According to Mihalek, the senators who recently blocked a bill to expand access to experimental medication are denying terminally ill patients fundamental rights.