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Daily News

January 21, 2021

President Joe Biden on Thursday (Jan. 21) signed an executive order directing HHS and other agencies involved in COVID-19 response to take immediate action using all available authorities, including using the Defense Production Act, to fill vaccine, testing and personal protective equipment supply gaps and to take steps to address the pricing of pandemic response supplies.

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The House Energy & Commerce health subcommittee, and possibly the oversight subcommittee, are expected to hold coronavirus hearings the week of Feb. 1, according to lobbyists.

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Experts at the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities urge the Biden administration, as part of an expected opening of a new special enrollment period for healthcare.gov, to consider several tweaks that could boost enrollment in the exchanges without causing adverse selection, including allowing certain people to enroll year-round.

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On Thursday morning (Jan. 21), National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Director Anthony Fauci, tapped by President Joe Biden to head the U.S. delegation to the World Health Organization, laid out the Biden administration’s plans to reverse the Trump-initiated withdrawal from WHO and to reform the organization from the inside.

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President Joe Biden will revoke the Trump administration’s so-called Mexico City Policy, which bans foreign aid from going to entities that provide abortion services, National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases Director Anthony Fauci told the World Health Organization Thursday morning (Jan. 21).

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While Democrats’ new control of the Senate has upped the chances that President Joe Biden can make strides on his health policy agenda through Congress, heath care experts and actuaries point out that one of the new president’s priorities -- raising the value of the Affordable Care Act’s tax credits by benchmarking them to gold-level, rather than silver-level, plans -- can be done administratively.

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The Senate Finance Committee on Thursday (Jan. 14) released a bipartisan report that blames both drug companies and pharmaceutical benefit managers for rising insulin prices.

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The Maryland legislature last week overrode GOP Gov. Larry Hogan’s veto of funding for the nation’s first state board created to make drugs affordable.

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January 20, 2021

The National Health Law Program petitioned the Biden administration on its first day in office to scrap an 11th-hour memo by former CMS Administrator Seema Verma that critics say is aimed at protecting work requirements and other controversial Medicaid policies put in place by the Trump administration.

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President Joe Biden signaled Wednesday (Jan. 20) that his administration will prioritize pro-LGBTQ+ health policy by signing an executive order directing federal agencies to ensure that federal antidiscrimination statues covering sex discrimination also prohibit discrimination due to sexual orientation and gender identity.

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President Joe Biden signaled Wednesday (Jan. 20) that his administration will prioritize pro-LGBTQ+ health policy by signing an executive order directing federal agencies to ensure that federal antidiscrimination statues covering sex discrimination also prohibit discrimination due to sexual orientation and gender identity.

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On his first day in office, President Joe Biden took immediate action to freeze all agency rules and guidances issued under the Trump administration that have not yet taken effect, sending out a memo from White House Chief of Staff Ronald Klain that also asks agency heads to postpone and reconsider any rules that have yet to be published in the Federal Register.

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President Joe Biden has tapped his acting HHS leadership team: Norris Cochran is acting HHS secretary, Janet Woodcock is acting FDA commissioner and Liz Richter is acting CMS administrator.

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In its last 24-hours, the Trump administration painted its hospital COVID-19 data reporting program as a model for the future of data collection, despite the controversy that surrounded the program’s initial rollout.

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The Biden administration is expected to fortify existing policies and increase funding to deal with social determinants of health.

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President Joe Biden has tapped National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Director Anthony Fauci to head the U.S. delegation to the World Health Organization, as the new administration re-engages with WHO and reverses the Trump administration’s withdrawal from the organization.

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January 19, 2021

CMS is using a demonstration to weaken two pillars of patient protections in Part D: protected drug classes and the requirement that insurers cover at least two drugs in each class.

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FDA on Tuesday (Jan. 19) finalized two tobacco rules -- one that establishes application and recordkeeping requirements for premarket tobacco products and another that sets out format and content requirements for substantial equivalence reports.

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FDA chief Stephen Hahn blasted an 11th-hour agreement that HHS penned with the U.S. Department of Agriculture shifting FDA’s regulation of animal food biotechnology products to USDA, with the outgoing FDA head vowing his agency will continue to oversee genetically modified animals intended for human consumption.

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HHS Secretary Alex Azar criticized lawmakers’ lack of guidance on how to distribute the provider relief fund but praised his department’s quick rollout of the relief in a yearly address Tuesday (Jan. 19).

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