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Supreme Court Won’t Hear Cases On Planned Parenthood In Medicaid

The Supreme Court declined Monday (Dec. 10) to hear a pair of cases about whether states can block Medicaid money from going to clinics that provide abortions. The court’s decision not to take the cases leaves in place two lower-court rulings that said states violate federal law if they try to exclude Planned Parenthood from their Medicaid programs.

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Insurers, beneficiary advocates, retailers and employers floated guiding principles they hope will drive an expected bipartisan effort by the incoming Congress to tackle “surprise medical billing,” and urged lawmakers to end surprise medical billing and standardize payments to out-of-network physicians.

FDA released new draft guidance on Monday (Dec. 10) that agency head Scott Gottlieb and Deputy Commissioner Anna Abram say will make it more feasible for compounding pharmacies to become outsourcing facilities and ensure those facilities maintain current good manufacturing practices (CGMP).

FDA issued the interim results of agency-mandated duodenoscope reprocessing studies to help inform hospitals and health care facilities of the need to carefully clean and properly maintain the devices, the agency said Monday (Dec. 10).

The House is using Medicaid-rebate legislation, introduced Dec. 4 in the Senate, to pay for a bill that combines a handful of Medicaid and Medicare bills from the past two years, according to legislation on the House floor schedule for the week of Dec. 10.

Senate Finance Committee Ranking Democrat Ron Wyden (OR) called on CMS Thursday (Dec. 6) to “be straight with the seniors about all of their health care options” amid concerns from some beneficiary advocates that the agency is favoring Medicare Advantage over traditional Medicare.

FDA’s Bob Temple, a drug center veteran of 46 years, will soon become senior advisor for the Office of New Drugs’ Immediate Office -- becoming the center’s point person on medical decisions that are controversial, complex or critical, center director Janet Woodcock said in an internal email on Friday (Dec. 7).

Congress’ Medicare payment advisers discussed possible 2020 pay for a wide range of providers at their December meeting Thursday and Friday (Dec. 6 and Dec. 7), including draft recommendations to tie some hospital pay to the advisers’ Hospital Value Incentive Program, but the commissioners plan to look again at what to pay long-term care hospitals in January as they didn’t agree on whether to provide LTCHs a pay increase in 2020.

Industry lawyers expect more in vitro diagnostic test makers to apply for CLIA waivers thanks to newly issued FDA guidances that make the process less prescriptive and clarify that tests for which trained and untrained users get comparable results are entitled to a waiver.

Thirteen Democratic senators are urging FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb to take stronger steps to prevent and reduce youth use of e-cigarettes by including mint- and menthol-flavored e-cigarettes among the types of products that would require stricter age verification and sales practices.