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Daily News

December 04, 2019

Two Democratic senators are calling on CMS, the Federal Trade Commission and five health care companies to ensure artificial intelligence tools used in health care are not biased, amid recent interest by CMS in using artificial intelligence in Medicare.

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House Energy & Commerce Chair Frank Pallone (D-NJ) said he has been working with FDA, GOP lawmakers and industry for several weeks to modify his bill beefing up FDA’s power to regulate cosmetics, and he revealed Wednesday (Dec. 4) that he is changing the ingredient review and user fee language and is open to adding some type of preemption clause.

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Soon after the White House signaled support for a surprise billing fix with arbitration, two Democrats on the House Education & Labor Committee said they are writing legislation that relies on independent dispute resolution and does not include benchmark pay rates for out-of-network bills.

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The nation’s largest seniors lobby is urging Congress to include in a year-end spending package a permanent reversal of the Affordable Care Act policy that increased the income threshold above which medical expenses can be deducted.

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The Energy & Commerce health subcommittee will hold a hearing next Tuesday (Dec. 10) to review a slate of bills that aim to achieve universal coverage either through a public option, Medicare or Medicaid buy-ins, or providing Medicare for all residents with or without maintaining private alternatives.

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In the lead up to the last week of Medicare open enrollment, CMS said it is already seeing the positive impact of the new Medicare Plan Finder and blames the media for talking about glitches or malfunctions, but the Center for Medicare Advocacy says the agency is not acknowledging that problems with the new system could hurt beneficiaries.

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December 03, 2019

The Republican leaders of Michigan’s legislature on Tuesday (Dec. 3) rejected a call from the Democratic governor to suspend the state’s Medicaid work requirements in light of a new lawsuit challenging their legality.

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Two former Republican White House officials proposed an alternative to the surprise billing policies Congress is considering, arguing that the two solutions lawmakers are looking it rely too much on government interference.

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The White House Council of Economic Advisers estimates that House Democrats’ drug pricing bill would thwart up to 100 drug inventions over a decade, compared to the eight to 15 fewer drugs that the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office estimated would result from H.R. 3.

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Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg proposed giving the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation authority to pilot new payment models that would tackle social determinants of health and requiring Medicare and Medicaid develop and meet health equity standards as well as collect and protect demographic health data to reduce inequity in health care.

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The Senate health committee on Tuesday (Dec. 3) voted 18 to 5 in favor of sending Stephen Hahn’s nomination for FDA commissioner to the Senate floor, despite concerns from both sides of the aisle about whether he will implement a ban on all flavored e-cigarette products.

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The Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation is working on a new payment model to improve maternal health outcomes following calls for such a demo from maternal health advocates, according to one stakeholder group engaged in the process.

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FDA can and should do more to monitor the cannabidiol product space, specifically by requiring all companies that make CBD consumer products register with the agency, a former FDA official told Inside Health Policy.

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Hospitals are requesting CMS withdraw its proposal to survey 340B hospitals about their drug costs, saying the survey instructions aren’t clear and the agency lacks authority to gather information from a subset of hospitals and on a subset of drugs.

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The IRS says it will not penalize insurers for failing to send individuals their 1095-B tax forms that show proof of insurance if they agree to highlight on a public site that they will provide the documents upon request.

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December 02, 2019

More than 40 health and advocacy organizations penned a letter to lawmakers expressing support for Stephen Hahn to be the new FDA commissioner and calling for a swift confirmation.

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The fourth week of open enrollment saw a slight increase in new consumers selecting plans through healthcare.gov while fewer people actively renewed coverage, a continuation of the trends over the past two weeks.

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Accountable Care Organizations view CMS’ new Direct Contracting demonstration as laying the groundwork for the next generation of ACOs -- particularly with the Next Generation ACO demo set to sunset soon -- and PACE organizations view the Direct Contracting demo as a way to reach new patients who could benefit from the Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly care model.

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FDA is looking into new innovations that could increase the speed and accuracy of clinical trials aimed at addressing antimicrobial resistance, an FDA official said.

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A recent Government Accountability Office report detailing problems with hospice care is increasing the urgency for additional CMS oversight as Sens. Rob Portman (R-OH) and Ben Cardin (D-MD) seek to attach their bill aimed at giving CMS those tools to an end-of-year spending package, according to a Cardin spokesperson.

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