Jonathan Frank

Trump Administration Acts on CAHC Recommendations to Streamline Enrollment Process on Healthcare Exchanges

WASHINGTON, DC (May 17, 2017): Today, the Council for Affordable Health Coverage (CAHC) – a coalition of employers, insurers, brokers, agents, patient groups, and physician organizations –  applauded the Trump Administration’s announced policy change streamlining enrollment for individuals who wish to participate in subsidy eligible health coverage through private exchanges. The move allows consumers to enroll for health coverage using a single website outside of Healthcare.gov, ending the so-called “double redirect” that required users who seek enrollment assistance from private web-based entities (WBEs) to leave the WBE site, complete an eligibility determination on HealthCare.gov, and then return to the WBE’s site to finish the enrollment process.

CAHC urged the administration to implement such changes earlier this year, writing in a March 17th letter to HHS Secretary Price and then-Acting CMS Administrator Patrick Conway that “The convoluted [enrollment] process may also lead many consumers to believe they have completed enrollment even if they have not. Case studies have estimated that 69 percent of consumers facing the double redirect fail to complete eligibility determination and enrollment . . . WBEs should be allowed to enroll consumers and host eligibility applications on their websites without the forced double redirect. The increased enrollment likely to result from this change can help to shore up risk pools with significantly less cost to taxpayers.”  
 
CAHC further coordinated with Congresswoman Marsha Blackburn (R-TN-07) and Markwayne Mullin (R-OK-2) on a second letter to the administration echoing these concerns which can be read here. CAHC Executive Director Katie Allen released the following statement welcoming the administration’s decision:
 
“The Affordable Care Act presents enough challenges of its own without the previous administration’s needlessly complicated enrollment process adding to the confusion. We are pleased that the Trump Administration is acting on our recommendations to untie the hands of consumers by allowing them to choose where they want to enroll in subsidy eligible coverage,” said CAHC Executive Director Katie Allen. “The previous policies depended too much on faulty, government-run exchanges, which led to low exchange enrollment levels throughout the country. By removing Healthcare.gov’s monopoly on enrollments and allowing space for other alternatives to thrive, the administration has taken a small but meaningful step towards putting consumers back in charge of their healthcare decisions.”
 
The Trump Administration’s policy change follows an earlier announcement from the administration outlining changes to scale back the role of Healthcare.gov in the Affordable Care Act’s Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP), which CAHC also supported. See CAHC’s previous statement on that decision here.

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About the Council for Affordable Health Coverage
The Council for Affordable Health Coverage (CAHC) is a broad-based alliance with a primary focus: bringing down the cost of health care for all Americans. CAHC promotes policies that lower health costs through increased competition, informed consumers and more choices to help promote access to affordable coverage.
 
 

Council for Affordable Health Coverage Releases Policy Recommendations to Lower Drug and Health Care Costs

WASHINGTON, DC (May 17, 2017): Today, the Council for Affordable Health Coverage (CAHC) released “Prescriptions for Competition, Value and Innovation,” the advocacy alliance’s set of comprehensive reforms to lower the cost of prescription drugs and health care. The coalition is among the first to unite diverse stakeholders across the health care system – benefit managers, drug manufacturers, insurers, consumers, and employers – to create proactive, bipartisan policy solutions that lower costs.
 
“Despite spirited debate from all areas of industry and in Washington, we have yet to see a consensus-based approach that engages the wide range of affected health care stakeholders in a concerted effort to lower drug costs and overall health care spending,” said Joel White, president of the Council for Affordable Health Coverage. “Through such a collaboration, we can find true commonsense solutions grounded in competitiveness and economic efficiency, leading to improved patient care and savings for the entire health care system.”


The intense, ongoing interest in health care and drug prices and related legislative debates provide a timely opportunity for lawmakers and the Administration to implement market-based reforms to drive smarter spending within the health care system.  The recommended reforms focus specifically on:
 

  • Increasing Competition: Bring more generics and brands to the market to drive down costs and increase choice.
     
  • Rewarding Value: Reform outdated laws that prevent rewards for better outcomes and lower costs.
     
  • Improving Data Infrastructure and Use: Create better infrastructure and streamline processes needed to make value-based payment arrangements more fruitful while speeding higher value treatments to market. 
     
  • Preserving What Works: Reject policies that undermine functioning markets, hamper innovation or jeopardize safety or access.

 
White added: “Competition works better than any government-designed program to lower costs for consumers. We’ve seen time and again that more products lead to lower costs, and incentives to pay for products based on their value help improve outcomes. These important changes will save billions for taxpayers, and potentially up to $71 billion in national health expenditures annually within a decade. Most important, and unlike other approaches, our solutions won’t undermine innovation and patient access to the drugs they need. As policy makers look for solutions to lower costs, we believe it is important to offer reforms firmly rooted in competitive markets and incentives that promote value, innovation, transparency and appropriate access to treatment.”
 
The following stakeholders also spoke in support of the reforms:

  •  “As complex and revolutionary medicines come to market, we must not lose sight of the value that private market tools have provided to make medicine affordable and available. Policies that rely solely on government intervention without incentive for market competition will do little to control the rising cost of prescription drugs.  The answer must come from all sectors, payers to manufacturers, working together to find commonsense solutions.”  — Dr. Steven Miller, Chief Medical Officer, Express Scripts
     
  • “BIO is excited to promote these principles to advance market-based policies that can improve patient access to medications and lower costs by driving value in our health care system. As the world's largest biotechnology trade association, we're committed to ensuring that patients can access the medicines prescribed to them by their doctors in a way that fosters the continued development of tomorrow's cutting-edge therapies. This coalition will work to advance policies that lower costs, speed cures to market and empower patients to make informed choices about their health. Enhancing competition in the market gives us our best opportunity to lower drug prices. To date, our government's policy decisions to incentivize biomedical innovation, reward risk-taking and avoid heavy-handed price controls have allowed American biopharmaceutical companies to produce more new cures and treatments than the rest of the world combined. We have an opportunity to build on that success. As biopharmaceutical research breakthroughs help us cure previously incurable diseases, policies that promote value-based payment will give us the ability to tie the price paid for a medicine to its positive impact on a particular patient's health. We will work through this coalition to remove regulatory barriers that stand in the way of such innovative, market-based payment solutions.” — Jim Greenwood, CEO, BIO
     
  • “Prescription drugs are improving and extending the lives of millions of people; now, some can even cure you of your disease. Patients have been in the middle of the drug pricing debate, frequently caught in between the pharmaceutical and insurance companies.  We congratulate the Council for bringing together a diverse set of stakeholders.  As a result of their work, we hope these changes will result in lower patient costs without compromising access to the medications patients need to stay healthy and alive.” — Carl Schmid, Deputy Executive Director of The AIDS Institute


To access the full policy document click HERE. To read a summary of the proposals, click HERE


Note: Express Scripts and BIO are members of the Council for Affordable Health Coverage. The AIDS Institute is a non-member partner in CAHC's drug affordability initiative. 
 

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About the Council for Affordable Health Coverage
The Council for Affordable Health Coverage (CAHC) is a broad-based alliance with a primary focus: bringing down the cost of health care for all Americans. CAHC promotes policies that lower health costs through increased competition, informed consumers and more choices to help promote access to affordable coverage.