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GAO: Coupons May Artificially Increase Part B Spending On Drugs

Drug companies aren't allowed to offer coupons to help Medicare beneficiaries with copays, but coupons increasingly are being used in the private sector, and that might be artificially driving up reimbursement for drugs in Medicare Part B, the Government Accountability Office reports.

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CMS' plan to automatically place consumers who will lose their exchange coverage into a similar plan has hit a barrier in Wisconsin, after the state confirmed it will neither conduct its own automatic re-enrollment nor let CMS run the process without a fight.

FDA and the medical device industry have agreed that if Congress enacts legislation in fiscal year 2017 allowing the device center to increase pay for scientists and other professional positions, as proposed in the House-passed 21st Century Cures bill, they will craft a plan aimed at retaining key personnel currently funded in part by user fees, according to minutes of recent meetings.

The American Hospital Association is circulating a model letter for members to use in the group's campaign against the site-neutral policy that Congress passed as part of last year's budget deal.

Shortly before the White House budget office began reviewing a final CMS rule updating Medicare and Medicaid requirements for participation for long term care facilities -- namely nursing homes -- consumer groups urged the agency to add language explicitly banning pre-dispute arbitration clauses in nursing home contracts.

House Energy and Commerce Ranking Democrat Frank Pallone (NJ) has asked Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI) to hold a hearing on how cosmetic manufacturers are regulated compared to other products and plans to introduce a bill this fall.

FDA extended its safety measure to screen whole blood and blood components for the Zika virus to all states and U.S. territories, not just areas with active Zika transmission.

A coalition of consumer advocates and health stakeholders on Wednesday (Aug. 24) urged HHS to include specifics on which exchange plan designs may be considered discriminatory under the Affordable Care Act as part of the forthcoming draft 2018 Notice of Benefits and Payments Parameters.

The nation's health insurance lobbies support CMS' proposal to reduce the allowable duration of short-term health plans to just three months in most circumstances, but agents, brokers and state insurance regulators believe the proposal is misguided and should be withdrawn.