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Daily News

November 20, 2019

Sen. Bill Cassidy is concerned the House Energy & Commerce Committee’s surprise billing legislation could cause insurers to lower doctor pay rates so low that rural hospitals would close.

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A third federal judge has blocked HHS from implementing its so-called conscience rule, which would vastly expand the ability of medical professionals to refuse to provide care based on their religious or moral objections.

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Democrats and Democrat-leaning independents said they trusted Sen. Bernie Sanders (VT) on health care the most among the Democratic presidential candidates ahead of Wednesday night’s debate, despite a majority of the same respondents saying they support a plan with a government-run public option competing with private insurance rather than Sanders’ Medicare-for-all plan, according to a recent Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF) poll.

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HHS plans to propose this month the controversial International Pricing Index demonstration that the president announced in October of 2018, according to the fall regulatory agenda that the administration published Wednesday (Nov. 20).

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The House and the Senate are negotiating how to handle federal funding for Medicaid programs in U.S. territories, including Puerto Rico, with the Senate pushing for two years of funding with an increased federal match rate after the House Energy & Commerce Committee passed a bill offering four years of funding, according to Rep. Darren Soto (D-FL).

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The House Energy & Commerce Committee on Tuesday (Nov. 19) cleared for floor action committee Chair Frank Pallone’s (D-NJ) tobacco bill that aims to curb youth e-cigarette use by raising the minimum tobacco purchase age to 21 and banning all characterizing flavors, among other policies.

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Former FDA heads, including Scott Gottlieb, penned a letter to Senate leadership on Tuesday (Nov. 19) expressing support for MD Anderson Cancer Center Chief Medical Executive Stephen Hahn to be the next agency chief. The letter was sent a day before the Senate health committee’s Wednesday (Nov. 20)  confirmation hearing for Hahn.

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November 19, 2019

The House Energy & Commerce committee unanimously approved a bill Tuesday (Nov. 19) that would create new maternal health programs focused on quality measures, rural areas, and tackling racial and ethnic disparities.

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The House voted Tuesday (Nov. 19) to fund the government through Dec. 20 with a package that includes so-called heath extenders that are set to expire on Nov. 21.

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Pennsylvania hit a “critical milestone” in its move from a federally facilitated to a state-based exchange last week when the health exchange board agreed to a seven--year contract with GetInsured for its exchange platform and consumer services for the new SBM set to go live in 2021, Zachary Sherman, executive director of Pennsylvania’s Health Exchange Board of Directors, tells Inside Health Policy.

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The House Judiciary Committee will mark up on Wednesday (Nov. 20) a bill to deter patent gaming by allowing the Federal Trade Commission to prosecute pharmaceutical manufacturers that try to engage in product hopping.

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Nevada’s newly minted state-based marketplace had enrolled more than 60,000 as of Nov. 15, and traffic on the site has increased eight-fold compared to last year, state exchange director Heather Korbulic announced last week.

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In an op-ed published Monday (Nov. 18), six major health groups urge President Donald Trump to move forward with a highly anticipated ban on flavored e-cigarette products.

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The Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) is asking FDA and the Federal Trade Commission to take enforcement action against more than 25 companies that market dietary supplements with the claim that they will treat female infertility.

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November 18, 2019

CMS on Friday (Nov. 15) withdrew a proposed guidance letter on Medicaid block grants that had been under review at the White House budget office since June, but the agency on Monday (Nov. 18) reiterated recent comments from Administrator Seema Verma promising that it will soon issue guidance on new ways for states to finance Medicaid.

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The latest House continuing resolution to fund the government, unveiled Monday (Nov. 18), extends through Dec. 20 the same package of so-called health extenders included in the short-term CR that is set to expire Nov. 21, including an extended delay of the Medicaid Disproportionate Share Hospital pay cuts.

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Ten Democratic lawmakers, including two Democratic presidential candidates, are calling on the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation to assess the potential of alternative payment models to lower rates of maternal mortality, but to be wary of models that might exacerbate health inequities.

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Advocates for Medicaid expansion are claiming another electoral victory after Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards (D) narrowly won re-election on Saturday (Nov. 16).

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Democratic Presidential Candidate Elizabeth Warren laid out a strategy for transitioning to Medicare for All under which she would use her first 100 days as president to reverse the Trump administration’s regulatory changes to the Affordable Care Act, defend the law from the GOP challenge in Texas, and support using reconciliation to pass a Medicare-like public option that would be available for all Americans, reform the ACA and lower the Medicare eligibility age to 50.

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Brand and generic drug companies disagree over the usefulness of FDA’s and the Federal Trade Commission’s efforts to address gaming of FDA’s risk mitigation strategies, according to a report published by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) Thursday (Nov. 14).

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