- Recruit one person to join you, and pick a day and time that works for you both, ideally before February 18. Even two people getting together is more fun and productive than watching the news or your Facebook feed. While Doctors for America mainly organizes doctors and medical students, you are welcome to invite anyone you want.
- We'll send you resources including a sample agenda, actions to take during the meeting, a summary of what's happening in DC, and ways to reach out to Doctors for America members and like-minded organizations in your area.
Together, we can have a powerful impact on what happens in DC.
Following the Republican retreat held last Thursday, there is still little clarity into how an ACA replacement plan will take shape. While Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is pushing for quick replacement, it seems some key Republican lawmakers are shifting their 'repeal and replace' goal to the more moderate goal of repairing the signature health law. It is unclear, however, the degree to which this is a shift in messaging versus policy. Senate Democrats have continued efforts to block the drive for repeal, honing in on women's issues, and even going so far as to boycott the confirmation vote for Tom Price, an avowed Obamacare opponent, for Secretary of Health and Human Services. However, attempts to boycott were not successful as the Senate Finance Committee changed the rules and voted to move Price's confirmation to the entire Senate.
Simultaneously, some states are working to preserve certain aspects of the ACA. Hawaiian lawmakers are working to merge popular ACA provisions (e.g., consumer protections) into state law, suggesting interest in a replacement plan that allows states to keep the ACA if they desire. Several Republican governors who expanded Medicaid under the federal health law, including Vice President Pence's home state of Indiana, are also seeking regulatory waivers to extend funding. Additionally, David J. Shulkin (nominee to lead the Department of Veterans Affairs) vowed to reform but not privatize veteran's health care – in contrast to Trump's campaign promise to allow veterans to choose private health care. These moves by states and leading department officials suggest continued uncertainty concerning a clear health reform plan moving forward.
Tuesday marked the final day of Open Enrollment for 2017 coverage through healthcare.gov and the state-based marketplaces. Despite a last minute move by the Trump administration to pull millions of dollars worth of ads and confusion over coverage and the future of the health law, over 12 million people chose insurance plans.
Stakeholders across the health care industry have continued to express concern regarding ramifications of ACA repeal. Hospitals nationwide could take a big financial hit, as a result of the reduction in Medicaid revenue and the increase in unpaid medical bills. Furthermore, it is likely that repeal will hamper innovations and progress made by hospitals that have significantly invested in accountable care organizations (ACOs) and value-based care programs. Leaders for the health insurance industry have warned that health plans will defect from the ACA marketplaces, unless there are more concrete assurances from Congress and the Trump administration. Aetna has already signaled that it will not expand involvement in the individual marketplace in 2018, citing GOP delay on replacement and "the unclear nature of where regulation's headed."
President Trump hosted pharmaceutical executives at the White House this week, calling for lower drug prices and fewer regulations. This meeting followed an executive order also aimed at deregulation – requiring executive departments or agencies to remove at least two previously implemented regulations for every new one issued—the "one-in, two-out" rule. While some industry stakeholders are lauding this move, the call for fewer regulations in the pharmaceutical industry has drawn mixed reviews. Though PhRMA and other pharma industry leaders have voiced support for market-based reforms that lower drug prices and decrease regulation, plans for a "revolution at the FDA" did not resonate so well with biotech executives. Likewise, in response to the "one-in, two-out rule," some privacy & data security experts are questioning whether this will create a disincentive for important regulations, such as HIPAA-related measures.