Sunday, April 20, 2014
Fiscal Cliff
(Daily News - 04-22-2013)

Two bipartisan deficit-reduction plans released late last week propose banning reverse payment drug patent settlements, and one of them also recommends enacting measures to prevent brand-name drug manufacturers from using Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategies to preclude generic companies from obtaining product samples to conduct studies required for generic approval.

(Daily News - 04-19-2013)

The chairmen of the White House's 2010 deficit-reduction panel on Friday (April 19) unveiled an updated deficit-reduction plan that includes key Medicare proposals that include: gradually increase the Medicare eligibility age while implementing a "buy-in" program with income-related premiums and subsidies for lower-income seniors; give IPAB more power; repeal the Medicare physician pay formula -- accompanied by a pay cut; make Medicare Advantage plans bid against one another; restore drug rebates to those dually eligible for Medicare and Medicaid; ban pay-for-delay; combine hospital, medical and drug insurance; expand durable medical equipment competitive bidding; bundle pay; restrict Medigap; and means test more seniors.

(Daily News - 04-10-2013)

President Obama's 2014 budget proposes to limit Medicaid reimbursement of durable medical equipment based on Medicare rates, rebase future Medicaid disproportionate share hospital allotments and "improve" Medicaid drug rebate and pay policies, but, consistent with lines the White House previously drew in the sand, the budget leaves out larger Medicaid savings proposals that would institute a "blended rate" for federal matching dollars and reduce states' ability to use Medicaid provider taxes.

(Daily News - 04-09-2013)

Beneficiary stakeholders are worried about the possibility of increased Medicare Part B and Part D premiums as the proposal will be highlighted at an upcoming House hearing and is also expected to be included the president's budget coming out Wednesday (April 10).

(Daily News - 04-08-2013)

Congressional Medicare advisers on Friday (April 5) began discussing abolishing the pay system for long-term care hospitals and instead paying general hospitals more for patients who now often are discharged to LTCHs.

(Daily News - 04-05-2013)

The president's 2014 budget proposal will include the deficit reduction offer he made to House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) last year that included roughly $400 billion in health care cuts, according to White House budget talking points circulated on Friday (April 5).

(Daily News - 04-03-2013)

House Ways and Means Committee Chair Dave Camp (R-MI) urged lawmakers Wednesday (April 3) to "roll up their sleeves" and agree on entitlement reform, saying there is no reason this can't be done in light of several bipartisan ideas pitched by President Obama and his fiscal commission.

(Daily News - 03-19-2013)

House Energy and Commerce Chair Fred Upton (R-MI) expects controversial proposals to move Social Security to Chained CPI and to raise the Medicare eligibility age will be part of the debt ceiling discussions mid-July, even though they are not part of the House GOP budget and have faced strong opposition from many Democrats and seniors groups.

(Daily News - 03-18-2013)

The House Democrats' budget alternative proposed Monday (March 18) by Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) includes $141 billion in Medicare savings over 10 years, and suggests savings could be reached through expanding drug rebates to Medicare Part D or other changes to make the program more efficient.

(Daily News - 03-14-2013)

The president appears to be warming to the idea of combining Medicare Part A and Part B deductibles, which likely would subject diagnostic tests, home health and hospice to co-pays, congressional aides say, and the home health industry is gearing up to lobby against those copays next week during its annual March on Washington.

(Daily News - 03-14-2013)

Cancer care clinics question the administration's authority under sequestration to alter the congressionally mandated Part B drug payment formula and are deeply frustrated with the lack of information from CMS on how the provider payment cuts will proceed, Ted Okon, executive director of the Community Oncology Alliance, told Inside Health Policy.

(Daily News - 03-14-2013)

The Federal Trade Commission and the Generic Pharmaceutical Association took to the courts and Congress this week seeking to limit brand-name drug manufacturers from using distribution restrictions, including Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategies, to prevent generic companies from obtaining product samples to conduct studies required for generic approval.

(Daily News - 03-13-2013)

Senate Budget Committee Chair Patty Murray (D-WA) proposed a budget Wednesday (March 13) that includes $275 billion in gross health care savings, compared with the $400 billion the president was open to during the year-end fiscal cliff talks.

(Daily News - 03-13-2013)

The Generic Pharmaceutical Association, amidst congressional budget battles and an across-the-board sequester, floated seven proposals to reduce the debt by increasing generic drug utilization, calling for reduced biologic exclusivity periods, Medicaid financial penalties if states block generic access, revamped Medicare Part B payments, and Part D low-income subsidy copays that encourage generics.

(File Document - 03-13-2013)
(Daily News - 03-12-2013)

Rep. Paul Ryan's (R-WI) budget explicitly states that Republicans plan to means test Medicare premiums, but otherwise the Medicare and Medicaid provisions are largely identical to those he proposed last year, budget experts says.

(Daily News - 03-12-2013)

FDA would be able to collect previously authorized user fee amounts for prescription and generic drugs, medical devices and biosimilars and could receive a bump for some key programs, including food safety, under a Senate-proposed short-term spending bill unveiled this week.

(Daily News - 03-12-2013)

The White House says that President Obama seeks larger Medicare savings than proposed by the House GOP Tuesday (March 12), but doesn't offer details.

(File Document - 03-12-2013)
(File Document - 03-12-2013)
(Daily News - 03-11-2013)

The chair of Congress' Medicare payment advisory panel warned against using a private alternative to Medicare to save money, saying such an approach risks creating a scenario similar to the Medicare physician pay formula for which Congress has yearly stepped in to avert payment cuts and is now struggling to craft a costly replacement.

(Daily News - 03-08-2013)

CMS affirmed to providers and suppliers Friday (March 8) that all Medicare claims with dates of service or discharge -- including durable medical equipment claims -- will be subject to the 2 percent reduction in payment due to the sequester starting April 1.

(Daily News - 03-08-2013)

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce in acknowledging that the Affordable Care Act "isn't going anywhere" is calling for several "market-driven" changes to advance meaningful reforms, including increased transparency and competition, medical malpractice reform, wellness initiatives and less restrictive health insurance choices.

(Daily News - 03-08-2013)

Congressional Medicare payment advisors are weighing proposals that would equalize or narrow payment rates between outpatient departments and offices for some services, prompting an outcry from hospital officials who complain the proposals would lead to serious payment cuts and could cause access issues -- especially for some frailer beneficiaries.

(Daily News - 03-07-2013)

The Washington-based think tank Urban Institute is out with a new menu of policy options on reducing federal Medicare spending that the group says would result in $734 billion in new savings and revenue through methods such as creating a Medicare "buy-in" option for 65- and 66-year-olds, increasing the Medicare payroll tax by .5 percent and extending Medicaid rebates to Part D for dually eligible beneficiaries.

(Daily News - 03-07-2013)

Diabetes Caucus co-chairs Dianna DeGette (D-CO) and Ed Whitfield (R-KY) are asking the Government Accountability Office to study whether pay cuts for retail diabetic test strips have made those supplies more difficult to find.

(Daily News - 03-06-2013)

Two key Republican House lawmakers urged hospitals on Tuesday (March 5) to lobby for "structural changes" to Medicare, suggesting that doing so could alleviate the need for lawmakers to turn to more provider pay cuts to offset the cost of replacing the Sustainable Growth Rate formula.

(Daily News - 03-06-2013)

Tennessee GOP Sens. Bob Corker and Lamar Alexander are pushing legislation based heavily on the original Simpson-Bowles deficit reduction proposal that would glean an estimated $689 billion in health care savings over 10 years, the largest portion -- $290 billion -- of which would come from reforming Medicare Advantage.

(Daily News - 03-05-2013)

Stakeholder groups are increasingly looking at taxation of sugary beverages as a way to nudge consumers toward healthier behaviors as well as possibly glean revenues that could be targeted toward health education or prevention services, or even as a way to offset the cost of Medicare physician payment reform.

(File Document - 03-05-2013)
(Daily News - 03-04-2013)

America's Health Insurance Plans' (AHIP) will unveil Tuesday (March 5) a 40-page report detailing wide-ranging efforts by Medicaid managed care plans to implement innovative programs that aim to improve care and reduce health care spending.

(Daily News - 03-04-2013)

CMS' plans for how to draw down funds from exchange grants, demonstrations, anti-fraud programs and other agency priority efforts are still unclear after the White House Office of Management and Budget outlined the scope of sequestration cuts facing each area.

(Daily News - 03-04-2013)

A continuing resolution introduced Monday (March 4) proposes to fund the government at fiscal 2012 levels and factors in sequestration, but also adds FDA's medical device and generic drug user fee funds that were absent in previous funding measures.

(Daily News - 03-04-2013)

A physician payment commission calls for Congress to phase in over 10 years a new Medicare payment approach by spending the first five years testing new models followed by five years of incorporating the successful ones into nearly all physician specialties.

(Daily News - 03-01-2013)

As sequestration kicks in, prior planning by some hospital systems will save many in the sector from cuts they hoped would never come to pass, industry sources say.