Maine Medicine Weekly Update - 05/08/2017  (Plain Text Version)

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In this issue:
•  U.S. House Passes American Health Care Act 217 to 213. Senate Vows to Start from Scratch
•  AMA Reacts to ACHA House Vote
•  AAP Reacts to AHCA Vote
•  Anthem asks U.S. Supreme Court to Overturn Rejection of Proposed Anthem-Cigna Merger
•  MMA, Lown Institute and Colleagues Present Challenges to Professionalism in a Time of Change, in Portsmouth, June 17
•  New England AMA Delegation Meets in Providence, R.I.
•  MIPS Web-interface and CAHPS for MIPS Registration Open Until June 30
•  Maine DHHS Now Accepting Applcations for Opioid Health Homes
•  Physician-focused Payment Models Recommended to Secretary Price
•  Online Learning Opportunities Offering CME Credits - from the Northern New England Practice Transformation Network
•  Weekly MMA Legislative Committee Conference Call Information
•  Legislative Highlights of the Week
•  Save the Date! Physicians' Day at the Legislature, May 31st
•  L.D. 46 Eliminating Physician Exemption from Jury Duty Poses Threat to Physician Practices
•  Learn How You Can Be Ready for the E-Prescribing Mandate: Free Webinars on May 10, May 24, and June 7
•  Maine Society of Eye Physicians and Surgeons Spring Educational Program & Business Meeting - May 12
•  Maine Chapter, American College of Surgeons Annual Meeting - May 19-21
•  How Can I Choose Wisely? A Community Conversation on Healthcare Changes and Rising Costs June 8
•  Family Medicine Physician - Pittsfield, ME
•  Physician Assistant - Newcastle
•  Physician Assistant or Nurse Practitioner Hospitalist - Full Time or Per Diem, Bridgton Hospital
•  Family Medicine Physician - Maine Medical Partners Primary Care - Standish, ME
•  Primary Care Physician - Eastern Maine Medical Center
•  Outpatient Only - Internal Medicine with Loan Repayment & Sign-on Bonus
•  Part-time Clinical & Part-time Research Position in Central Maine
•  Family Medicine Physician - Winthrop, ME
•  DO or MD Physician - Augusta, ME
•  Family Medicine Physician - Waterville, ME


Anthem asks U.S. Supreme Court to Overturn Rejection of Proposed Anthem-Cigna Merger

Last week Anthem announced that it would ask the U.S. Supreme Court to reverse the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia upholding of a lower court ruling halting the proposed $54 billion mega insurance merger between Anthem and Cigna. The decision was seen as a victory for both patients and physicians.

Both the American Medical Association and the Maine Medical Association had opposed the proposed merger since it was announced and both had worked with the Justice Department to build a case against it. MMA lawyers had met with the Justice Department back in January of 2016 and expressed concern about the impact of the merger on Maine physicians and their patients. The AMA submitted an amicus brief to the appellate court in support of preserving the merger injunction issued in February of this year.  Based on existing policy established by the AMA House of Delegates, the AMA advocated in 2016 that the Department of Justice block the two proposed mergers between health insurers Aetna and Humana and Anthem and Cigna.

Maine Attorney General Janet Mills also entered the litigation against the Anthem and Cigna merger. In July, 2016, MMA joined a group of organizations led by the AMA and Connecticut State Medical Society in urging the DOJ to carefully review the impact of large insurance company mergers on individual states and the country as a whole. Ultimately, the trial court found that the Anthem-Cigna merger would harm patients because ti would likely lead to higher premiums, eliminate the existing head-to-head competition between Anthem and Cigna, reduce the number of national carriers from four to three, and diminish innovation.  

The ruling is the result of 21 months of advocacy by the AMA and the coalition of physician organizations, including MMA, before the DOJ, congressional leaders, state attorneys general, insurance commissioners, and federal court. Barring an appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court, the decision last week concludes a successful campaign by the AMA and 17 state medical associations - on behalf of patients and physicians - to stop the Anthem-Cigna merger.