Maine Medicine Weekly Update - 10/23/2017  (Plain Text Version)

Return to Graphical Version


In this issue:
•  Patients Pay for Ending Cost-sharing Reduction Payments
•  Less Wealth Means Greater Disability, Shorter Life
•  Congress Continues CHIP Negotiations
•  Free Personalized Assistance to Help You Prepare for Quality Payment Program
•  MMA Senior Section Meets Wednesday, Topic is Mental Health Services with AMHI Consent Decree Court Master
•  AMA Outlines Next Steps for Health Reform
•  Legislative Calls to Resume When Legislature Returns
•  Hamilton Confirmed as DHHS Commissioner
•  Rep. Stanley Proposes Bill on Closure of Hospital Services
•  SAVE THE DATE: MMA Legislative Committee Meets December 11th to Prepare for Next Legislative Session
•  University of New England Opioid Use Disorder and Medication Assisted Treatment Workshop October 28th
•  York County Drug Takeback Day October 28th
•  Improving Opioid Prescribing and Patient Safety: 3-hour presentation in Wells on November 1
•  9th Canadian Conference on Dementia - November 2-4, 2017
•  Turquoise & Tapas With the Lung Association November 9th
•  Emerging Technologies - Advances in Diagnosis & Laboratory Testing: Annual Conference November 15 in Augusta
•  Online Learning Opportunities Offering CME Credits - from the Northern New England Practice Transformation Network
•  New Free CME on Alzheimer's Risk, Detection, and Management
•  Improving Opioid Prescribing and Patient Safety: October 25 & November 18 at EMMC
•  BC/BE Physician - C.A. Dean Memorial Hospital
•  VA Psychiatrist
•  Chief Executive Officer
•  BE/BC Family Practitioner - Lewiston, ME
•  Primary Care Physician - Eastern Maine Medical Center
•  Chief Executive Officer
•  Relocate to Beautiful Southwestern Maine - Medical Director/Family Practice Physician
•  Outstanding full-time opportunity for an experienced Physician Assistant or Nurse Practitioner with Central Maine Heart Associates in Auburn, Maine
•  Palliative Care Provider
•  Gastroenterologist - Brunswick, ME
•  Hospitalist - Brunswick, ME
•  Family Medicine Physician - Winthrop, ME
•  DO or MD Physician - Augusta, ME
•  Outpatient Opportunities Loan Repayment, Sign-On & Relocation
•  Family Medicine Physician - Pittsfield, ME
•  Outpatient Only - Internal Medicine with Loan Repayment & Sign-on Bonus
•  Family Medicine Physician/Clinician Leader
•  Opportunities at the VA for Volunteer Physicians


Patients Pay for Ending Cost-sharing Reduction Payments

Federal cost-sharing reductions (CSR) payments, which helped lower health insurance deductibles and co-payments for millions of low-income Americans obtaining coverage in the Affordable Care Act (ACA) marketplace, will be discontinued this month, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced Oct. 12.


[from the AMA Advocacy Update]

The move followed the White House's statement that referred to CSRs as "unlawful payments" and a "bailout of insurance companies" that were being funded without a Congressional appropriation. AMA President David O. Barbe, MD, MHA, said the AMA "is deeply discouraged" by the president's decision because it "creates more uncertainty" in the individual insurance marketplace and threatens "access to meaningful health insurance coverage for millions of Americans" just as an abbreviated open-enrollment period is about to begin.

"Republicans and Democrats alike have expressed concern about the affordability of health care coverage under the Affordable Care Act, and bipartisan efforts have been underway in Congress to provide the specific authorization and funding for CSR payments to address the legal issues involved," Dr. Barbe (@DBarbe_MD) said. "Our patients will ultimately pay the price. We urge Congress to accelerate its efforts to reinstate these payments before further damage is done."

It is estimated that at least 6 million people had their costs of care lowered by a CSR, at an annual cost to the federal government of around $7 billion.

The AMA joined a coalition of organizations representing family physicians, hospitals, health insurers and employers in urging Congressional leaders to "take action now to fund" CSR benefits. The joint letter notes the Congressional Budget Office's determination that ending the funding that supports CSR benefits will:

  • Drive up premiums, increasing average premiums for benchmark silver plans—the most popular plans on the exchanges—by 20 percent in 2018, and by 25 percent in 2020.
  • Deny choices for consumers and greatly increase the risk that some places will have no coverage options at all.
  • Increase the federal budget deficit by $194 billion over the next 10 years.
Bipartisan efforts in the Senate, led by Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee Chair Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., and Ranking Member Patty Murray, D-Wash., have produced an agreement to restore the CSRs. The legislative pathway for Congressional approval, however, remains uncertain.