Friday, April 18, 2014

Inside Health Reform

MACPAC Eyes Short-Term CHIP Extension To Spur Fixes To Children's Exchange Coverage

Congressional advisers on Friday (April 11) voted on a draft recommendation that would extend the Children's Health Insurance Program for two years to keep down costs and to pressure Congress into fixing flaws in Obamacare's treatment of children's health insurance available on the exchanges.

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Health Exchange Alert
Health Exchange Alert

Featured Story: Advocates Say Navigators Should Be Able To Assist Consumers By Phone

Consumer groups awaiting HHS' next announcement about navigator grant funding want the administration to let assisters provide help to people over the phone, arguing in a recent letter to HHS that it's burdensome and inefficient for people to have to always return in person to continue receiving help on their applications, especially if that person lives in a rural area.

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Breaking News

2015 Premiums Subject Of Talks Between President, State Insurance Officials

The White House on Thursday (April 17) suggested that during a meeting between President Barack Obama and insurance commissioners it put pressure on state insurance regulators to limit exchange plan premium increases for 2015, shortly before the president announced that 8 million people signed up for qualified health plans on the exchanges during 2014 open enrollment and the just-ended special enrollment period.

Latest News

Inspector General: Congress Should Close Duals Financing Loophole

The HHS Inspector General recommends that CMS ask Congress to prevent states from using a financing loophole to get federal funding for dually eligible beneficiaries with nearly no investment from states.

FDA Official Highlights UDI Possibilities In Warning About Hysterectomy Device

FDA Thursday (April 17) discouraged the use of laparoscopic power morcellators for hysterectomies and myomectomies after analyzing data and medical literature linking the devices to increased risks of uterine cancer.

GOP Senators Question Necessity Of Additional HHS Workforce Programs

Republican senators are questioning HHS' plans to set aside more funding for new and existing health care workforce programs, asking the department to account for what has already been spent to make sure the programs are efficient and not duplicative.

States Should Focus Efforts On Prescribing, Dispensing Limits, Sources Say

States should seek other options for addressing safety concerns related to pure hydrocodone Zohydro, in light of a federal judge's reversal of Massachusetts' ban on the drug, sources following the issue said.

Drug Industry Says QHP Specialty Tiers, High OOP Costs Could Threaten Access

Pharmaceutical executives suggest the public needs to be more aware about the larger consequences of insurers' usage of specialty tiers, high out-of pocket costs and other utilization management practices for drugs in the exchanges, because if it migrates more widely to the commercial market and creates access issues it's going to be "very difficult."

CBO Projects Medicare Spending To Decrease As Health Spending Growth Picks Up Speed

Analysts tell Inside Health Policy that the Congressional Budget Office's latest budget estimate is good news for Medicare, but the report also highlights the growing gap between health spending in the private sector and the relatively stable projections for federal program.

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Focus On Hospitals

AHA Sues HHS Over Two Midnight Hospital Inpatient Admissions Policy

In a move that one lobbyist says should not be a surprise, the American Hospital Association is challenging HHS over the controversial two-midnights inpatient admission policy, arguing in two related lawsuits filed Monday (April 14) that the rule burdens hospitals with unlawful, arbitrary standards and deprives hospitals of proper Medicare payment for caring for patients.

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