DW blog: The First 100 Days


Trump Administration issues new rules for Obamacare enrollment, network adequacy

April 14, 2017
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has issued a final rule regarding network adequacy in the Affordable Care Act (ACA) health care exchanges. The rules states that CMS would defer to the states’ reviews of the adequacy of health plan networks.

The American Academy of Dermatology Association (AADA) ― along with several other physician and patient organizations ― opposed this proposal, arguing that this policy could create inconsistencies among states with varying levels of adequacy and different methods for assessing adequacy. However, the Administration stated that it anticipates that states will adopt standards per the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) network adequacy legislation. The AADA will continue to monitor state network adequacy efforts to ensure patients and providers are protected.

Additionally, the rule shortens the 2018 enrollment period for patients looking to purchase health care through the ACA exchanges to Nov. 1 to Dec. 15. Previously, patients had three months to enroll ― from Nov. 1 to Jan. 31. The rule also allows insurers to pay a lower percentage of beneficiaries’ medical costs in ‘silver’ plans ― insurers can opt to cover 66 percent of medical costs, as opposed to the current 70 percent. The rule also grants insurers the authority to deny coverage to beneficiaries who have not paid their premiums. The rule does not address the individual mandate and it also increased subsidies for the ACA exchanges.

White House names HHS deputy secretary

April 11, 2017
The Trump Administration has nominated Stephen Parente to serve as the assistant secretary of planning and evaluation at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). He will be the principal advisor to HHS Secretary Tom Price, MD. Parente is a health care economist and currently works as a professor at the University of Minnesota.

Pick for FDA faces Senate committee

April 6, 2017
Scott Gottlieb, MD ― President Trump’s pick for commissioner of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) ― faced the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee at a confirmation hearing this week and discussed his thoughts about the drug-approval process. Specifically, Dr. Gottlieb indicated that the current process slows down the rate of drug approvals and can be improved without sacrificing safety. Dr. Gottlieb also stated that his first priority as commissioner of the FDA would be to address the U.S. opioid epidemic.

During the hearing, Dr. Gottlieb also answered questions about his financial and advisory ties ― which were listed in Dr. Gottlieb’s conflict of interest notice ― with about 30 medical companies. Dr. Gottlieb indicated that he would work “…with the ethics officials at HHS and FDA to have continued discussions on what additional steps I should take to make sure I’m fully complying with the law if I’m confirmed into this role.”

Dr. Gottlieb, an internist, served as deputy commissioner of the FDA under President George W. Bush. The Committee is expected to vote on Dr. Gottlieb’s appointment after congressional recess.