ACHP Media Monitoring Report – September 26, 2017



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September 26, 2017

 Graham-Cassidy dealt another blow after key Senator says no to repeal
The Senate Finance Committee held its only public hearing on the Graham-Cassidy bill yesterday, with protesters and activists from across the country lining up outside the Hart Senate Office Building and filling the halls to protest the bill.

Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) joined fellow Republicans Sens. John McCain (R-AZ) and Rand Paul (R-KY) in opposing the Graham-Cassidy bill. With no Democrats voting yes on the repeal, Sen. Collins dashed the bill’s chance of passage before September 30. Hours after Sen. Collins released her statement, Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Bill Cassidy (R-LA) pressed ahead on repeal talk during a CNN debate on health care, raising the possibility of still holding a vote.

The nonpartisan CBO estimates the legislation would result in millions of Americans losing health care coverage and a $133 billion reduction in the deficit by 2026. According to the preliminary analysis, the number of people with comprehensive insurance that covers high-cost medical events would be reduced by millions compared with the current law. S&P Global Ratings also came out with a report finding that the bill would cost about 580,000 jobs and $240 billion in lost economic activity by 2027.

GOP already eyeing next chance for ACA repeal
GOP senators are already beginning to rally around another way to tackle ACA repeal. An increasing number of Republicans want next year’s budget to include tax reform and health care reform measures. However, Republicans might not have the 51 votes needed to pass budget legislation if it includes health care.

CHIP funding looming crisis for states
Minnesota is the first state to exhaust Children’s Health Insurance Program funds, likely running out of money for coverage of low-income children by the end of the month. While Minnesota is the first, nine other states are projected to face a shortfall by the end of the year. CHIP funding expires on September 30, and Congress has not yet acted to renew the funding. In many states, officials are preparing notices to families to warn their coverage may end. CHIP serves nearly 9 million pregnant women and children.

New survey shows low levels of trust in health insurers
Health systems’ and doctors’ trust in insurers has dropped to an all-time low. According to the ReviveHealth Trust Index, trust in health plans lowered to a score of 52 out of 100 this year, compared with 54.1 in 2016. Physicians gave health plans a score of 55.8 on the trust index, essentially unchanged from last year. Consumers gave health insurers a score of 69, lower than their ratings for hospitals (74.2) and physicians (79.3). The annual survey measures trust based on how honest, reliable and fair health system executives, physicians, and consumers consider health insurers. It also looks at insurance executives’ levels of trust in health systems and physicians.

Lab industry jolted by $670 million cut
Quest Diagnostics and LabCorp’s stocks lost almost $1.5 billion after CMS issued a proposed plan late last Friday that would slash Medicare payments to labs. Medicare pays more for lab tests than commercial insurers, and the new proposed rates, mandated by Congress, cut Medicare spending to labs by $670 million in 2018. Public comments on the plan are due by October 23, and it is possible Medicare could possibly soften the cuts in the final November rates, or delay the new rates altogether.
Annual out-of-pocket health care spending per family varies among states
A new JP Morgan report finds variation among health care spending in 23 states, even after controlling for age and income differences. Residents in Colorado and Utah spent the most out-of-pocket on average, and those in California and Michigan spent the least. The report says the findings are likely due to differences in health care prices, insurance coverage and how much people are using medical care.

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