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Daily News

January 24, 2020

Health care experts warn the Trump administration will face a tough legal battle if it approves Georgia’s recently submitted state innovation waiver that would let the state leave healthcare.gov in favor of web-based brokers, allow less generous “copper” plans on the market and turn federal subsidies into capped state-level credits.

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The HHS Office for Civil Rights on Friday (Jan. 24) warned California that it risks losing funding from potentially several federal agencies in 30 days if the state doesn’t back away from its six-year policy of requiring that state plans and insurers cover abortion.

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FDA’s declaration Wednesday (Jan. 22) that Chiesi’s hypertension drug Cardene (nicardipine hydrochloride) was not withdrawn for safety and efficacy reasons opens the door for generic manufacturers, such as Baxter, to make the drug and may help resolve current shortages of nicardipine hydrochloride, a pharmacy group says.

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The Mexican government could soon change its food-labeling standards to mandate front-of-package labels for all prepackaged food and nonalcoholic beverages, which the United States and other countries say could run afoul of Mexico’s international trade obligations.

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January 23, 2020

Democrats defending the Affordable Care Act still hope the Supreme Court will review the controversial case over the law’s future this term and urge the judges to the reject a GOP request to extend their filing deadline to March.

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House Democrats are considering celebrating the upcoming 10th anniversary of the Affordable Care Act by voting on legislation to strengthen former President Barack Obama’s signature law, and in turn sending a pre-election message that Democrats will work to protect Americans’ health benefits, according to a well-placed lobbyist.

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A new coalition of right-wing groups is lobbying Congress to adopt a surprise billing fix that doesn’t include a benchmark payment rate, like the policy in the compromise hammered out by the Senate health and House Energy & Commerce committees.

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Some kidney care stakeholders say the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission seems to be at odds with the administration over the need for innovation in treatments for end stage renal disease patients after commissioners at their January meeting leaned toward eliminating the transitional drug add-on payment adjustment to the ESRD pay bundle.

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Congress’ Medicaid advisors are carefully watching a Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation model to see how it improves maternal health for mothers with substance use disorders as it gets underway this year, and suggested they might weigh in to highlight the authority states already have to reshape their Medicaid programs to better serve mothers with substance use disorders.

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Beneficiary advocates say they anticipated Republicans would try to make up $1.5 trillion or so spent on the 2017 tax cuts in 2017 by reducing spending on entitlement programs, and so they were not surprised the president seemingly broke from his earlier pledges to protect Medicare and suggested during a Wednesday interview that changes to entitlement programs would come out toward the end of the year if he wins another term.

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The House Energy & Commerce Committee health subcommittee will hold a hearing on Jan. 29 to discuss legislative proposals aimed at improving the safety of food and drugs and increasing regulatory transparency, the subcommittee announced Wednesday (Jan. 22).

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Executives of the top five e-cigarette manufacturers will testify before the House Energy & Commerce oversight subcommittee on Feb. 5, E&C Chair Frank Pallone (D-NJ) and oversight subcommittee Chair Diana DeGette (D-CO) announced Wednesday (Jan. 22).

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The House Energy & Commerce oversight subcommittee’s top Republican is pushing legislation that would give FDA authority to seize and destroy counterfeit medical devices, combination products and vaccines coming across U.S. borders.

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New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan-Grisham (D) is proposing to create an office that would develop a plan to import Canadian drugs.

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January 22, 2020

The White House budget office is reviewing an FDA rule that calls for color graphic warnings to be included on cigarette packages and in cigarette advertisements.

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CMS will allow Texas to use federal funding for its family planning services for women not previously eligible for Medicaid, although those funds cannot be used by any organization in the state that provides abortions.

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House Education & Labor Committee Democrats are gathering information from the Department of Labor that could lay the foundation for legislative action to bolster the federal government’s enforcement of mental health parity law when it comes to employer-sponsored plans.

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Air ambulance executives told federal regulators last week that they must send patients expensive “surprise medical bills” to compensate for underpayment from private insurers, Medicare and Medicaid.

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FDA plans to address challenges in developing products to treat rare disorders, including what a key stakeholder views as a first-ever agency focus on individualized treatments, at a public meeting slated for Feb. 24.

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Heading into 2020, third-party medical device servicers will focus on two key issues: extending right-to-repair laws to medical devices, and addressing cybersecurity on older medical devices, industry representatives told Inside Health Policy.

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