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Daily News

January 15, 2020

State legislators looking to fund initiatives to improve their health care markets have a new opening now that Congress has repealed the federal tax on health insurance plans effective 2021, says Chiquita Brooks-LaSure, managing director of Manatt Health.

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The Government Accountability Office says the Health Resources and Services Administration doesn’t provide enough assurance that nongovernmental hospitals meet 340B eligibility requirements, as it identified several weaknesses in HRSA’s review of nongovernmental hospital contracts that are required for such providers to qualify for 340B discounts.

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Members of two FDA advisory committees unanimously voted 27-0 against approving Nektar Therapeutics’ oxycodegol opioid for management of chronic low back pain. During the joint committee meeting on Tuesday (Jan. 14), advisors took issue with the lack of efficacy data for broader patient populations, and they were especially disappointed that the sponsor had only conducted one phase III efficacy study.

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January 14, 2020

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD) wants the House to vote on surprise billing legislation soon and said policy differences among the House committees of jurisdiction are small, despite evidence to the contrary.

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The Trump administration wants the Supreme Court to let it start enforcing tougher immigration restrictions on people who use Medicaid or other forms of public assistance, even as litigation over the policy works its way through the lower courts.

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Two top Democrats are asking the HHS Office of Inspector General to look at the legality of Tennessee’s Medicaid block grant proposal that is pending CMS’ approval, just weeks after key stakeholders said CMS lacks authority to approve the proposal.

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The House Energy & Commerce health subcommittee will consider six cannabis-focused bills, including one that already passed the House Judiciary Committee, during a Wednesday (Jan. 15) hearing on cannabis policies, according to a memo E&C Chair Frank Pallone (D-NJ) sent to subcommittee members and staff on Friday (Jan. 10).

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House Energy & Commerce Committee Republican leaders will re-open their 2018 investigation into opioid manufacturers Insys Therapeutics, Mallinckrodt Pharmaceuticals and Purdue Pharma, and the role each company played in the opioid epidemic, lawmakers announced Tuesday (Jan. 14).

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West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrissey, one of the 18 GOP state officials challenging the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act, is pushing legislation that not only claims to protect residents with preexisting conditions, but also sets up the possibility of state-level subsidies to replace the federal assistance that could be axed if Morrissey and his colleagues’ arguments succeed in the high court.

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New Hampshire will seek federal permission to create a state reinsurance program under the Affordable Care Act 1332 waiver program, which the state estimates will reduce 2021 premiums by about 15%, Republican Gov. Chris Sununu said last week.

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Cosmetics regulatory reform is a priority for House Energy & Commerce Committee Chair Frank Pallone (D-NJ) in 2020, an E&C spokesperson told Inside Health Policy.

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January 13, 2020

Action in the high-profile case over the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act continues to move at a rapid clip with the Democratic-led House and a coalition of Democratic attorneys general requesting the Supreme Court reject GOP arguments that a quick review is not urgent and instead move to discuss the case at the court’s Feb. 21 conference.

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Federal appellate judges suggested Monday (Jan. 13) that CMS’ attempt to require that drug makers include list prices in television advertisements might lead to consumer confusion without bringing down drug prices.

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Hospitals sued CMS Monday (Jan. 13) over the 2020 Medicare site-neutral cuts, reiterating arguments from their lawsuit over the 2019 cuts -- where the federal district court found in hospitals’ favor -- and reminding the court that it already ruled the agency doesn’t have authority for such a policy.

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Opioid abuse, drug compounding and drug shortages are some of the key issues FDA’s drug center will focus on in 2020, drug center director Janet Woodcock said in an email Monday (Jan. 13).

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Democratic presidential candidates Elizabeth Warren (MA) and Amy Klobuchar (MN) last week separately unveiled proposals to roll back Medicare and Medicaid policies that they say harm individuals with disabilities, and the two senators also are pushing to expand long-term services.

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The Pew Charitable Trusts and other stakeholders working to stem antimicrobial resistance (AMR) view lawmakers’ plans for a second iteration of the 21st Century Cures Act as an opportunity to enact policies to spur development of new antibiotics.

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January 11, 2020

The Department of Justice Friday (Jan. 10) asked the Supreme Court to hold off reviewing the high-profile case over the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act until a lower court decides which parts of the law are invalid, rejecting Democrats' claims that a lengthy judicial process would inject more uncertainty in the health care landscape.

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January 10, 2020

CMS says the revamped Medicare Shared Savings Program Accountable Care Organizations are on track to save $2.9 billion over 10 years, as the agency’s actuary projected when the regulatory overhaul was finalized, but the National Association of ACOs raises concerns about the program’s lack of growth because it says fewer new ACOs are joining the program than in past years.

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CMS’ evaluation of the Next Generation Accountable Care Organization’s second year shows that Medicare spending increased slightly during 2017, though the National Association of ACOs said those results are likely due in part to the way the evaluation compared their performance to others.

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