Payer Roundup—Little Sisters of the Poor appeals ruling in birth-control coverage fight; Former Caesar's executive leaves Aetna

Packs of birth control pills
A group of nuns is fighting to uphold the Trump administration's rollback of the ACA's birth control coverage mandate. (Getty/areeya_ann)

Little Sisters of the Poor fights for rollback of birth control coverage mandate

A group of Catholic nuns has entered the court battle over Trump administration rules that roll back the Affordable Care Act’s contraceptive coverage mandate.

Two different federal judges—one in Pennsylvania and one in California—have granted motions filed by officials in those states that sought to block the rules from being implemented. 

But last week, the Little Sisters of the Poor appealed the ruling in the California case. The group also filed a “protective notice of appeal” in December for the Pennsylvania case, which would allow it to pursue an appeal if its attempt to intervene in the case is granted. 

The Little Sisters’ move is unsurprising, since they have taken to the courts before to challenge the ACA’s requirement that employers offer no-cost birth control coverage to their employees. (California filing; Pennsylvania filing)

Former Caesar’s CEO parts ways with Aetna

Gary Loveman, who for two years served as Aetna’s executive vice president of consumer health and services, has moved on from the company, an Aetna spokesman has confirmed.

Before coming to Aetna, Loveman was the president and CEO of Caesar's Entertainment Corporation, and used his experience in that sector to advocate for greater use of consumer-facing technology in the healthcare sector.

Indeed, Loveman’s accomplishments at Aetna included developing “groundbreaking digital tools and collaborations,” and redefining the way Aetna coordinates care at the local level through its Community Care model, according to an internal memo obtained by FierceHealthcare. The memo did not give a reason for his departure.

Medicaid expansion push suffers setback in Virginia

Late last week, the Virginia state Senate’s Education and Health Committee voted down a bill that would have expanded Medicaid in the state and implemented several conservative policies.

The bill would direct the state’s secretary of Health and Human Resources to apply for a Medicaid expansion waiver that would also require some beneficiaries to work or pay premiums as a condition of eligibility. 

The bill fits with Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam’s views, as the newly elected Democrat has said he supports expanding Medicaid eligibility but also wants to look for ways to control costs.

However, the measure can’t advance if it doesn’t pass that Senate committee. (The Hill)