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Daily News

February 14, 2019

Sen. Brian Schatz (D-HI) and Rep. Ben Ray Lujan (D-NM), along with 61 Democratic co-sponsors, reintroduced legislation to let anyone not currently eligible for Medicaid to buy into the program or leverage it to enhance their coverage in the individual market.

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A health policy expert last week suggested to House Appropriations health subcommittee members that revoking the Trump administration’s rule that promotes short-term health plans could help offset the costs of removing the Affordable Care Act’s so-called subsidy cliff which several Democratic lawmakers have proposed in various reform bills.

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Home care organizations were pleased with a bipartisan Senate bill introduced Monday (Feb. 11) that would keep CMS from implementing any behavioral adjustment as part of a new home health pay system until the agency sees how providers react.

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FDA stakeholders are applauding the $269 million increase in FDA funding included in a government spending package to be voted on Thursday (Feb. 14) to avert another shutdown.

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FDA stakeholders are applauding the $269 million increase in FDA funding included in a government spending package passed by Congress Thursday (Feb. 14) to avert another shutdown.

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A bipartisan group of House Energy & Commerce Committee leaders asked to meet with FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb to discuss challenges the agency faces in inspecting foreign drug manufacturing facilities.

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A food safety advocate said she was “crestfallen” that FDA’s final guidance detailing how the food industry and agency staff should issue public warnings and recall notifications does not require companies to disclose the names of retailers involved in the recall.

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February 13, 2019

In an in-person meeting, Senate Finance Committee Democrats on Wednesday (Feb. 13) asked HHS Secretary Alex Azar how the administration plans to eliminate Medicare Part D rebates without letting drug makers pocket that money instead of sharing it with seniors, according to a Democratic committee aide.

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House Energy & Commerce health subcommittee Democrats jumped at the chance to criticize GOP-led changes to the Affordable Care Act during a Wednesday hearing examining legislation that could reverse several health policy decisions made by the Trump administration.

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CMS in an internal transmittal to contractors dated Feb. 15 lays out a proposal for a prospective bundled payment radiation oncology model that would replace fee-for-service payments in randomly selected geographic areas, a move that comes after HHS Secretary Alex Azar indicated the agency was eying a mandatory radiation therapy demonstration.

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Democratic leaders of the House Energy & Commerce Committee want to know what CMS plans to do about states that are not fully complying with federal requirements to provide Medicaid coverage of abortions in cases of rape, incest or danger to the pregnant person’s life.

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FDA released a draft guidance on Wednesday (Feb. 13) that calls for drug industry stakeholders and agency staff to draft a set of pharmaceutical quality consensus standards that potentially could be recognized by the agency.

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HHS Secretary Alex Azar is scheduled to visit Democrats on the Senate Finance Committee Wednesday (Feb. 13) after holding a similar meeting a month ago with committee Republicans, according to a source familiar with the meeting.

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Two FDA advisory committees on Tuesday (Feb. 12) recommended FDA approve Janssen’s esketamine intranasal spray to treat treatment-resistant depression, which some advisers called a “game changer” for those with TRD.

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A bipartisan group of eight House lawmakers is seeking support for a bill to permanently repeal the Affordable Care Act's 2.3 percent excise tax on medical devices.

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An analysis released by the Urban Institute on Monday (Feb. 11) finds that growth in spending per enrollee in Medicare and Medicaid was much slower than in private insurance between 2006 and 2017, with the authors blaming health care cost containment issues on private insurance.

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A coalition of organizations focused on health care, public health and safety, drug diversion prevention, and drug abuse prevention and treatment, and a former congresswoman, wrote to FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb urging the agency to embrace innovative, at-home systems for disposal of drugs when it implements wide-ranging legislation passed last year as part of congressional efforts to curb the opioid crisis.

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Democratic Sens. Debbie Stabenow (MI) and Tammy Baldwin (WI), along with Democratic Reps. Brian Higgins (NY) and Joe Courtney (CT), unveiled legislation that would let people between the ages of 50 and 64 buy into Medicare, and would let them use existing tax credits and federal contributions under the Affordable Care Act to do so.

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February 12, 2019

Democrats are embracing proposals that would lower the Medicare eligibility age to either 50 or 55 in an effort to expand health coverage without fully upending the current system, but industry groups are wary of the idea and warn it could be as disruptive as moving to Medicare for All. 

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A key liberal House Democrat said he is open to more moderate approaches to Medicare price negotiation than his own, but House Republicans oppose Medicare negotiation, especially if the plan were to let the government exclude coverage of drugs.

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