ACHP Media Monitoring Report: April 6, 2017

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ACHP in the News:  ACHP sent a letter urging Congressional leadership to fund CSRs to stabilize the market and ensure affordable coverage for millions of Americans. Read more in Axios and Politico Pro.

Trump administration still weighing cost-sharing subsidies
The White House has not decided whether to continue funding cost-sharing subsidies for low-income enrollees. Senior Administration officials and congressional leaders are still debating the issue. The Republican-controlled House had previously sued to stop the subsidies, arguing the Obama Administration had exceeded its authority by authorizing the payments. The Trump Administration will have to decide on the issue soon, as health plans have to decide in June whether to remain in the ACA individual market.

GOP includes high-risk pools in health care reform proposal
At President Trump’s urging, House Republicans have agreed to add high-risk pools to their latest proposal for repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act. The provisions have gained the support of moderate and conservative lawmakers working with the administration to build consensus, but some moderates worry it could lead to allowing states to opt out of provisions protecting patients with preexisting conditions.

The amendment is a last-minute move to show progress before recess. House Republicans are still in the process of gathering support for health care reform and are not expected to schedule a vote until after the Easter recess. Vice President Pence has pressured Congress to make progress on the bill before the break.

Brokers dropping out of plan sales on the exchanges
Fewer insurance companies are offering commissions for selling plans on the ACA exchanges, putting insurance brokers in a conflicted position. Many brokers want to provide consumers with options for health coverage but also rely on commissions to remain in business. For this reason, brokers have been fleeing the marketplace, and this may affect enrollment numbers. Brokers have historically signed up about 50 percent of exchange enrollees.

Verma will not participate in decision on Medicaid work requirements
Kentucky is looking to become the first state to require Medicaid recipients to work in order to receive benefits. However, CMS Administrator Seema Verma will not take part in the decision due to a conflict of interest. Verma helped to write the plan to overhaul Medicaid in Kentucky via her consulting business.

California weighs universal health system
In California, advocates for universal health care have a new set of proposals. Some are proposing a single, government-financed program offering health care to everyone, while others are suggesting a commission that would weigh the best options for a universal health system. Policy experts say that any plan to create universal health care in the state would take years to implement and face many political challenges.

1 in 10 U.S. women with Zika had babies with birth defects
A CDC report finds that one in 10 women in the United States who contracted Zika while pregnant had a baby with a serious birth defect. The study showed that the greatest risk of birth defects happened when a woman was infected during the first trimester. Nearly every state reported a possible Zika infection during pregnancy.


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.

Payment Reform and Initiatives

The Payment Reform Landscape: The Potential Value of Aligning High-Value Benefit Designs With Payment Reforms
Health Affairs Blog
Catalyst for Payment Reform and the Urban Institute released a series of papers examining how payments to providers offering new care delivery models can be supported by high-value benefit designs. Aligning patient incentives with those of health care providers could produce better, more affordable care.

CMS Delays Major Bundled Payment Initiatives: 6 Things to Know
Becker’s Hospital Review
CMS has issued an interim final rule that delays cardiac care bundled payment initiatives and the growth of the existing Comprehensive Care for Joint Replacement model. Becker’s Hospital Review has the top six things to know about the interim rule.