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Senate Appropriators Demand CMS Be More Forthcoming On ACA Grants, Enrollment Data

Senate appropriators are demanding CMS keep them more in the loop on announcements related to ACA-related grants and exchange enrollment figures, writing in draft report language for their fiscal year 2015 Labor-HHS spending bill that the agency should notify the committee at least one business day before ACA data and grant opportunities are released.

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Republican governors sent Senate leaders Medicaid proposals that track closely with ideas state Medicaid directors are urging CMS to embrace: streamline and move away from waiver requirements; treat states as full partners in the rulemaking process; and make pricing transparent.

An official with tax preparer company Jackson Hewitt says millions of consumers getting subsidized exchange plans this year could have their tax refunds delayed next year if the marketplaces do not send necessary documentation to those consumers by Jan. 31.

House Ways & Means health subcommittee Chair Kevin Brady (R-TX) said he plans to introduce this year legislation to fight Medicare fraud and replace Medicare’s controversial “two-midnights” inpatient admission criteria.

A bipartisan duo of Ways & Means lawmakers is pushing legislation that would let Medicare Advantage plans charge chronically ill patients lower copays for drugs and services that work well.

The National Association of Chain Drug Stores is using a recent Senate Finance Committee push to improve chronic care to further pharmacists' call for provider status, as NACDS says provider status would allow pharmacists to do more for chronically ill patients at the pharmacy, saving money and increasing the health of the chronically ill in the long run.

A former CMS official said the agency's efforts to reimburse innovative new treatments are being stifled by a lack of clear authority over evidence development and waning resources.

The National Association of Medicaid Directors sent CMS initial recommendations for revamping Medicaid managed care regulations after hearing informally that the agency hopes to update rules that have been in place since the 1990s, with a key proposal that CMS move away from requiring waivers for any changes states make to Medicaid managed care programs.

CMS says in the coming weeks it will begin terminating coverage or adjusting subsidies for exchange enrollees who have failed to provide supporting documents that were requested to resolve inconsistencies with the information they provided on applications, but the agency has yet to disclose an exact timeline or the number of people that could be affected.