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Daily News

April 12, 2019

Federal Medicaid advisers voted Thursday (April 11) to recommend that Congress eliminate the requirement for states to establish a Recovery Audit Contractor program.

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New findings from duodenoscope sampling studies show the number of high-concern organisms found on reprocessed duodenoscopes is nearly 2.5% more than what FDA originally reported back in 2018, the agency’s device center director announced Friday (April 12).

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A conservative health policy expert involved with the Health Care Consensus Group working on an Affordable Care Act replacement plan has moved up the release date after the White House plans to unveil a plan soon.

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CMS will start accepting on June 11 perspective notices from accountable care organizations that intend to join the revamped program in 2020, and the application window runs from July 1 through noon on July 29.

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ORLANDO, FL -- The National Association of Insurance Commissioners agreed to send out a survey on the marketing of short-term plans to get a better sense of brokers’ methods for selling and attracting consumers to the newly expanded insurance products.

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April 11, 2019

Federal Medicaid advisers voted Thursday (April 11) to recommend that Congress change the definition of the so-called Medicaid shortfall in order to re-impose stricter limits on the amount of supplemental payments that disproportionate-share hospitals can receive.

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A key Justice Department political appointee who led oral arguments in the controversial challenge to the Affordable Care Act at the district court level has dropped out of the case and will soon leave DOJ, coming just days after House Democrats told Attorney General William Barr to let his lawyers in the case testify before Congress, and ahead of DOJ’s May 1 deadline to file an opening brief in the appeal.

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Congressional Medicaid advisers voted unanimously Thursday (April 11) to recommend removing the drug-rebate cap in Medicaid, a recommendation that also is backed by the Trump administration and a key House Republican, after several MACPAC members grew comfortable with removing the cap since initially expressing doubts at a March meeting.

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The National Association of Accountable Care Organizations (NAACOS) recently sent a letter to CMS asking the agency to make a tobacco-use quality measure, which was changed by agency, into a pay-for-reporting measure rather than a pay-for-performance one since NAACOS said CMS didn’t adequately communicate changes and ACO performance scores have suffered.

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More than 65 provider and hospital groups are pushing lawmakers to back legislation to add 15,000 additional Medicare-funded residency slots over five years, and American Hospital Association Executive Vice President Tom Nickels said a critical mass of lawmaker support is needed before providers can get to the serious conversation of how to get such legislation marked up and possibly paid for.

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FDA on Thursday (April 11) finalized a decision that 28 active ingredients are not allowed to be used in over-the-counter hand sanitizers -- also known as OTC consumer antiseptic rubs -- and deferred making a decision and called for more data on three other active ingredients, including ethyl alcohol, which the agency says is the most commonly used ingredient in hand sanitizers.

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The Partnership for Quality Home Healthcare applauded a bipartisan home health bill introduced in the House Thursday (April 11) that would allow physician assistants, nurse practitioners, clinical nurse specialists and certified nurse midwives, as opposed to just physicians, to order home health services for Medicare beneficiaries.

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Device stakeholders have another 30 days to comment on FDA’s proposal to post on its website cleared devices that demonstrated substantial equivalence to older predicate devices as part of its bid to encourage device makers to use new predicates.

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House Agriculture biotechnology subcommittee Chair Stacey Plaskett, who represents the U.S. Virgin Islands, said the subcommittee will spend the beginning of Congress’ term making sure FDA and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) are on track to have cannabis regulations in place.

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A food allergy research and patient advocacy group has helped craft a newly introduced bill the group says could foster new therapies by encouraging government agencies such as FDA to collect more data on the patient experience and economic costs of living with food allergies.

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April 10, 2019

White House and congressional Republicans immediately pounced on Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders’ (VT) introduction of Medicare for All legislation along with four other Democratic candidates to argue that all Democrats support a government takeover of health care, and they attempted to portray GOP ideas as a realistic alternative.

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House Energy & Commerce oversight Chair Diana DeGette (D-CO) said Wednesday (April 10) she hopes to have ready by July or September bipartisan legislation that makes insulin affordable.

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CMS on Wednesday (April 10) appealed a pair of judicial decisions that blocked Medicaid work requirements in Arkansas and Kentucky.

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Senate Finance Chair Chuck Grassley (R-IA) said Wednesday (April 10) if senators cannot reach consensus on a package to lower prescription drug costs by June, such a package may not pass this year.

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FDA is requiring changes to the prescribing information for all opioid analgesic medicines used in the outpatient setting to provide more information about how health care providers can safely decrease the dose in patients who are physically dependent on opioids, the agency announced Tuesday (April 9).

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