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Congressional Hearings Consider Avenues to Tackle Health Care Costs

July 18, 2018

Congressional committees on both sides of the Capitol in Washington, DC, are focusing on exploring the dynamics driving health care costs and possible policy avenues to consider. Transparency, drug prices, and paying for value are being featured prominently in policy discussions.

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Federal Policymakers Call for Reforms to Stark Law to Promote Care Coordination and Accelerate the Move to Value-Based Care

July 18, 2018

A hearing before the U.S. House Ways & Means Health Subcommittee—Modernizing Stark Law to Ensure the Successful Transition from Volume to Value in the Medicare Program—highlighted the regulatory burden of the Stark Laws and affirmed the commitment of federal policymakers to pursue reforms that will help promote integrated and coordinated care.

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Legal Challenge to 340B Payment Cut Rejected on Procedural Grounds; HAP Advocates for 340B Program As Crucial Tool in Helping Hospitals Managing Drug Costs

July 17, 2018

A federal appeals court upheld a lower court decision rejecting, on procedural grounds, a lawsuit brought by the American Hospital Association, the Association of American Medical Colleges, and America’s Essential Hospitals that could have prevented Medicare payment cuts from taking effect for many hospitals in the 340B Drug Pricing Program.

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Federal Task Force Created to Address Critical Drug Shortages

July 13, 2018

Addressing concerns about the continuing shortage of critical drugs, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) yesterday released a statement from Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, MD, announcing the formation of a federal task. The task force will investigate the causes of the shortages and recommend solutions to ensure appropriate supplies of medications are always available.

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Reduced Resources for Insurance Navigators; Outreach Efforts will be Crucial to Encouraging Coverage

July 12, 2018

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) released its annual notice for federal grants to fund navigators that assist consumers in enrolling in the federal health insurance marketplace. For the second year, CMS reduced the funding available to support the outreach efforts.

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U.S. House Hearing Reviews Policy Impacting the 340B Drug Pricing Program

July 11, 2018

In a hearing before the U.S. House Energy and Commerce Health Subcommittee, federal lawmakers explored the purpose and administration of the 340B Drug Pricing Program; reviewed federal oversight and compliance; and garnered feedback on policy proposals.

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Trump Administration Freezes Risk Adjustment Payments

July 09, 2018

On Saturday, the Trump Administration announced a temporary halt of risk adjustment payments to insurers. Those payments, totaling more than $10 billion based on 2017 business, are designed to offset higher costs for insurers that offer plans to high-risk individuals.

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New Medicare Cost Growth Estimates Paint Concerning Financial Picture

July 06, 2018

The Kaiser Family Foundation has released a new, updated resource, which provides detailed information relating to trends in Medicare benefit payments, Medicare spending projections, and an assessment of Medicare’s financial condition and future outlook. 

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Medicaid Expansion Associated with Increases in Coverage and Quality of Care

July 03, 2018

Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) contributed to improvements in the quality of care and coverage, according to a recent Health Affairs analysis of 77 published studies.

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Pennsylvania Approved for Additional Federal Funding for Substance Use Disorder Treatment Facilities Services

July 02, 2018

Pennsylvania has received approval to continue to receive federal funds to provide substance use disorder (SUD) treatments, according to an announcement today by the Wolf Administration.

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U.S. Senators Explore Options to Reduce Health Care Costs

June 28, 2018

The U.S. Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee recently convened an expert panel to explore dynamics that contribute to the cost of health care in America, and identify policy avenues to address health care spending.

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Coverage Protections for Pre-existing Conditions a Top Issue for Voters

June 27, 2018

According to the latest Kaiser Family Foundation tracking poll, about two-thirds (65%) of registered voters say a candidate’s support for continued protections for people with pre-existing health conditions is either the “single most important factor” or “very important” to their vote in the upcoming midterms elections.

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Federal Officials Press FDA to Address Drug Shortages

June 22, 2018

Members in both the U.S. House and U.S. Senate are urging the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to exercise its authority to the fullest extent possible to address drug shortages.

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Trump Administration Finalizes Policy to Expand Use of Association Health Plans; Concerns Raised About the Effect on the ACA Insurance Marketplaces

June 20, 2018

A newly finalized policy will expand the ability for employers to join together in an employer group or association to offer employer-sponsored health care coverage through “association health plans".

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U.S. Senate Committee Discusses Oversight of 340B Drug Discount Program

June 19, 2018

During a hearing before the U.S. Senate Health, Education, Labor & Pensions Committee, the federal agency in charge of the 340B Drug Discount Program outlined how the program works and provided an overview of steps that have been taken to strengthen oversight.

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