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Plans Ask Administration To Scrap Insurer Price Transparency Rule

Health insurers are pressing the Trump administration to scrap the crux of its proposed negotiated price transparency rule and work with stakeholders and Congress on alternatives -- a request that has led to visceral reactions from HHS Secretary Alex Azar and CMS Administrator Seema Verma.

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Sen. Joni Ernst (IA) is the latest Republican to support bipartisan drug pricing legislation by fellow Iowan and Senate Finance Committee Chair Chuck Grassley (R), bringing the number of Senate Republicans who support the bill to 12.

A group of Democratic senators sent a letter to President Donald Trump Friday (Feb. 14) urging him to direct the Department of Justice to drop its support of the high-profile Texas v. United States case challenging the Affordable Care Act after he failed to offer up alternative policies protecting people with preexisting conditions in his $4.8 trillion budget released Feb. 10.

FDA, the Government of India and U.S Customs and Border Protection stopped nearly 500 shipments of unapproved illicit drugs as part of a bilateral enforcement program known as Operation Broadsword.

Behavioral health advocates sent a letter Friday (Feb. 14) to congressional leaders again calling for Congress to make a long-term investment in mental health clinics by extending the demo for two years and expanding the number of participating states as part of the May health care package.

HHS released a three-part study Friday (Feb. 14) that found a 40% increase in the rate of Medicare beneficiaries hospitalized with sepsis over the past seven years -- though CMS says the fact that most entered the hospital with sepsis instead of subsequently acquiring it could be a sign that efforts to reduce hospital-based infections are working.

A federal appeals court on Friday (Feb. 14) ruled that work requirements do not advance the purpose of Medicaid, dealing another serious blow to one of the Trump administration’s signature health care policies.

Indiana is asking CMS to let the state extend its Medicaid program, called the Healthy Indiana Plan, for an additional 10 years, to 2030, after closing the door on the possibility of using the agency’s newly unveiled guidance to block grant its program.

FDA has put out a call for more data and information about the outbreak of vaping-related lung illnesses that started last summer.

Changes to the Senate Finance drug pricing bill already have been made and the Congressional Budget Office is estimating the revisions’ impact on the budget, but Senate Finance Committee Chair Chuck Grassley remained mum on those changes Thursday (Feb. 13).

HHS Secretary Alex Azar assured senators on Thursday (Feb. 13) that CMS would work with states on their Medicaid financing if the Medicaid Fiscal Accountability Regulation is finalized, just one day after CMS Administrator Seema Verma called critics of the rule alarmist and concerns about potential Medicaid funding cuts under the rule overblown.