February 2017

Trump Meets with Insurance Provider CEOs to Discuss Future of Health Care Industry

President Donald Trump met with CEOs of insurance providers, Aetna, Anthem, Cigna Corp., Humana, UnitedHealth, Kaiser Permanente and several Blue Cross Blue Shield companies to talk about the future of healthcare with changes coming to the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

The President and executives discussed concerns surrounding the ACA and how the insurance market might be stabilized with the dismantling of the law. Trump criticized health insurance exchanges, calling them "disastrous" and predicting the market is "going to implode." Trump assured CEOs that a "fantastic" replacement plan is being written  that will both lower prices and improve health care.

While industry leaders seemed confident the Trump administration is on the right track in replacing the ACA, consumer groups are not as positive. The concern is that lawmakers will give the insurance industry preference over the needs of the people.

Insurers hope to strengthen the individual market which, right now, is mostly made up of older, sicker people, causing claims to rise. The younger, healthy members needed to stabilize the market have not materialized, and insurers have raised premiums to recoup losses. Even with raised premiums , many providers are not breaking even.

Details surrounding any plans to replace and repeal the ACA have been lacking as lawmakers are still meeting with industry leaders, consumer groups and constituents to develop a final policy.

Pharmaceutical Companies Reign in Price Hikes in 2017
Drug companies were more cautious this year in raising prices according to an analysis by the investment firm Raymond James & Associates.

Many companies did not raise prices for prescription drugs as much as in the past - and fewer companies raised prices by 10 percent or more.

Recently, the makers of the Epi-pen raised prices, outraging patients with life-threatening allergies. Additionally, makers of an older muscular dystrophy treatment shocked American patients with a price hike up to $89,000 for a treatment that costs $1,600 or less annually in other countries. These, and other drug companies have been facing increased pressure from the public and lawmakers to keep medications more affordable.

( Source: Marketwatch.com)

Trump Says Healthcare System will 'Implode' Without Major Changes to Obamacare

Despite reports that are concerning for lawmakers who promised equal or better coverage following repeal of the Affordable Care Act, President Donald Trump said Congress must move forward with sweeping changes to his predecessor's health care reform law.

Trump told dozens of governors who met with him at the White House that the nation's health care system was in danger of imploding if he and Congress did not remake Obamacare.

However, the pressure of keeping Americans who obtained insurance because of the ACA increased over the weekend. Governors gathered for their annual meeting and received a sobering report on the impact of repealing the 2010 law.

Electronic Business Transactions Switchover Could Save Healthcare $9 Billion 
Providers now spend eight minutes on average, and up to 30 minutes on manual tasks such as making phone calls, sending faxes and mailing correspondence

Widespread adoption of electronic business transactions in healthcare continues to grow, but there is still an opportunity for $9.4 billion in savings, according to new data released today in the 2016 The Council for Affordable Quality Healthcare (CAQH) Index.

Another Merger Blocked

A federal judge blocked the proposed $54 billion tie-up between national insurers Anthem and Cigna late Wednesday, saying the combination would harm competition in the national employer market.

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