November 21, 2017

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Viewpoints: Price’s Mission On Medicare; Judge Offers View Of Aetna’s Move Out Of Exchanges

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A selection of opinions on health care from around the country.

Modern Healthcare: Dr. Price’s Conflicts Of Interest
Democratic senators, several of whom are themselves avid traders in healthcare stocks, were right to roast HHS secretary designee Dr. Tom Price for his unseemly plunges into individual healthcare equities. … Conflicts of interest are a major issue in healthcare and on Capitol Hill. But trying to tie Price’s stock trading to some kind of quid pro quo or campaign contribution misses the much larger problem with his nomination. Since getting elected to Congress in 2004, the former orthopedic surgeon has championed policies that further the interests of entrepreneurial surgeons in particular and unbridled fee-for-service medicine in general. Once installed at HHS, he will have the power to eliminate the CMS’ most promising move toward value-based reimbursement—mandatory bundled payments. (Merrill Goozner, 1/21)

CNBC: Beyond Obamacare—How Trump And Price Will Disrupt The Health Care System
Tom Price faced off with the Senate during his recent confirmation hearing for the role of Secretary of Health and Human Services in the Trump cabinet. But he’s been laying the groundwork for what he sees as the future of health care since 2015. A repeal of the Affordable Care Act has been front and center since the presidential campaign began. But many of the planned changes could affect an even bigger audience – Medicare and Medicaid enrollees. (Jennifer Fitzgerald, 1/23)

Los Angeles Times: U.S. Judge Finds That Aetna Misled The Public About Its Reasons For Quitting Obamacare
Aetna claimed this summer that it was pulling out of all but four of the 15 states where it was providing Obamacare individual insurance because of a business decision — it was simply losing too much money on the Obamacare exchanges. Now a federal judge has ruled that that was a rank falsehood. In fact, says Judge John D. Bates, Aetna made its decision at least partially in response to a federal antitrust lawsuit blocking its proposed $37-billion merger with Humana. (Michael Hiltzik, 1/23)

The New York Times: Why The C.D.C.’s Power To Quarantine Should Worry Us
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued new regulations this month that give it broad authority to quarantine Americans. The rules outline for the first time how the federal government can restrict interstate travel during a health crisis, and they establish in-house oversight of whether someone should be detained, without providing a clear and direct path

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