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Mayo's Noseworthy meets with Trump in Florida

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From left, Mayo Clinic CEO John Noseworthy, Partners HealthCare CEO and President Dr. David Torchiana, Johns Hopkins Medicine CEO Dr. Paul Rothman, and Carlyle Group co-founder and co-CEO David Rubenstein arrive Wednesday at Mar-a-Lago for meetings with President-elect Donald Trump and his transition team in Palm Beach, Fla.
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MAR-A-LAGO, Fla. — President-Elect Donald Trump met Wednesday with industry leaders in health care, including Mayo Clinic President and CEO John Noseworthy, in what could be a precursor to his expected push to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act after years of Republican criticism.

The meeting was held at 11 a.m. Wednesday at Trump's holiday residence and also included Paul Rothman of Johns Hopkins Medicine, David Torchiana of Partners HealthCare and Toby Cosgrove of the Cleveland Clinic. Those four men represent institutions that have all been heavily affected by ACA, and would be similarly affected by any changes made after Trump is sworn into office on Jan. 20.

Mayo issued a notice as the meeting commenced that Noseworthy was "pleased for the opportunity to discuss the Mayo Model of Care and Mayo Model of Research as potential roadmaps to excellence in all of American health care and share Mayo Clinic's views on critical success factors needed to solve our nation's most pressing and complex health challenges."

Noseworthy was not available for comment following the meeting, but a Mayo Clinic spokesman reported that the meeting "touched on many aspects of healthcare, including research as a driver of innovation and economic growth, as well as the barriers posed by overregulation of healthcare."

Mayo's CEO has been critical of President Obama's health care overhaul, which many have dubbed Obamacare. While Obamacare has expanded insurance coverage for millions, Noseworthy has said it doesn't focus enough on patient health.

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Noseworthy has been in contact with Trump's transition team about offering his insight since the Nov. 8 election that saw the Republican stun Democratic opponent Hillary Clinton at the polls.

"We're really talking about replace and repair, rather than repeal," Noseworthy told The Washington Post last month. "But we haven't seen a full approach yet from the administration. Personally, this is me speaking. … We're basically optimistic we can create a better system together."

Mayo has been criticized locally, including last week by Wabasha City Administrator Chad Springer, for contributing to rising insurance costs in Southeast Minnesota. Rates in the area are often double the state average. Minnesota's MNsure system has faced its own challenges. Website glitches and enrollment limits have caused headaches, and providers have pulled out due to cost overruns.

Noseworthy hopes Trump can help return the focus of health care to the patient, similar to Mayo's longstanding motto of "the needs of the patient come first."

"We've been talking much more about premiums and websites than we have about what patients need," Noseworthy recently told the Washington Post. "The voice of the patient and, I would argue, the voice of the medical professional, hasn't been at the table for a long, long time. I think we could help."

Cosgrove, of the Cleveland Clinic, criticized the Affordable Care Act this fall on CNBC's "Squawk Box" over increasing demands for documentation.

"The number of quality metrics that we have to report to the government every year is just going up like crazy," Cosgrove said. "We're now reporting well more than 100 quality metrics on a regular basis," describing regulation paperwork as coming in seven-foot-tall stacks of 16,000 pages.

The meeting with influential health care executives comes shortly after Trump and his transition team held similar meetings with other industry giants, including technology, finance and mainstream media. However, the latest meeting may have prompted an immediate response from Democrats.

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DFL leaders Bernie Sanders, Nancy Pelosi and Charles Schumer released a letter Wednesday calling for a "day of action" on Jan. 15 to "save health care." They warn that 30 million people may lose health insurance if Republicans successfully repeal ACA, which some have declared as their top priority.

"Rallies will be held across the country to vigorously oppose the Republican plan to end Medicare as we know it and throw our health care system into chaos," the letter states.

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