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Daily News

March 24, 2020

New Hampshire has released for public comment a draft version of a five-year waiver that would establish a reinsurance program for the 2021 plan year estimated to lower premiums by up to 16% and boost enrollment by up to 6%, if approved.

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State Medicaid programs are barred from kicking anyone off Medicaid, reducing benefits or charging higher premiums if they wish to receive the enhanced federal matching funds that Congress provided in the March 18 coronavirus emergency aid package, CMS told states in new guidance Tuesday (March 24). States also must comply with the law’s requirement to cover all testing and treatment related to COVID-19 without any cost-sharing.

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FDA is allowing emergency use of investigational convalescent plasma, which involves using plasma collected from recovered COVID-19 patients as a potential therapy for the novel coronavirus disease.

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A draft compromise of lawmakers’ third response to the COVID-19 pandemic circulating on Tuesday (March 24) would fund the so-called health extenders and delay Medicaid Disproportionate Share Hospital Payment cuts only through Nov. 30 -- matching policies in House Democrats’ version of the bill, but providing a shorter extension than the Senate GOP's initial plan to extend the funding until 2022 or fiscal 2022.

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A draft coronavirus stimulus compromise circulating Tuesday (March 24) contains the same Medicare and Medicaid provisions the Senate Republicans had in their package that failed a cloture vote over the weekend.

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CMS on Monday (March 23) approved emergency Medicaid waivers for 11 more states, giving them more flexibility to respond to the coronavirus outbreak.

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An updated draft of the Senate’s COVID-19 stimulus bill, floated Tuesday (March 24), includes over-the-counter drug monograph legislation that would establish an FDA user fee program for OTC drugs, give innovative OTC drugs 18 months of exclusivity and change the way FDA responds to OTC drug safety.

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A draft Senate COVID-19 stimulus compromise floated Tuesday (March 24) maintains multiple provisions that would expand requirements for drug makers to report product shortages, give FDA authority to require device makers report shortages and potential supply disruptions, and protect manufacturers of respiratory masks from lawsuits.

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The Health Resources and Services Administration on Tuesday (March 24) awarded $100 million in grants to over 1,300 health centers to assist in their COVID-19 emergency response.

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The costs of testing and treatment for COVID-19 could reach up to $251 billion nationwide in the first year, which could hike premiums by up to 40% in 2021, but a reinsurance mechanism that helps mitigate the unforeseen costs for the individual, employer and Medicaid managed care programs could provide needed certainty, according to analysis by Covered California Chief Actuary John Bertko.

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The Senate compromise stimulus bill hammered out Tuesday (March 24) fails to include Affordable Care Act reforms pushed by House Democrats Monday that would lift barriers to coverage and support stability in the marketplace.

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The House Democrats’ coronavirus stimulus bill introduced Monday night (March 23) includes numerous provisions to further increase the federal Medicaid match, incentivize the use of telehealth and stop a controversial proposed Medicaid rule.

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The House Democrats’ phase-three COVID-19 response bill would postpone scheduled pay cuts to Medicaid Disproportionate Share Hospitals, temporarily increase Medicaid DSH allotments during the pandemic emergency, and provide short-term funding for community health centers and a variety of so-called health extenders.

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The House Democrats’ latest COVID-19 response bill would make sure Medicare beneficiaries don’t have to pay for COVID-19 treatments, drugs or any vaccine, establish a risk corridor program for Medicare Advantage plans during the COVID-19 outbreak, temporarily suspend the Medicare sequester and allocate $550 million for additional infection control investigations of health care facilities.

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In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, FDA says it will not take enforcement action against certain companies that do not submit adverse event reports to the agency within the standard required timeframe.

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March 23, 2020

This week, New York State will launch drug trials for a potential treatment for the novel coronavirus, New York State Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) announced Sunday (March 22).

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CMS on Monday (March 23) further limited its nursing home inspection protocol, postponing routine inspections to focus solely on infection control and immediate jeopardy, based on its findings in a Washington state nursing home that experienced a COVID-19 outbreak.

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The HHS Office of Inspector General warned Monday (March 23) that scam artists are targeting Medicare beneficiaries with promises of illegitimate COVID-19 tests in order to steal beneficiaries’ medical information and fraudulently bill federal health care programs.

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FDA on Monday (March 23) announced new procedures that will allow the agency to issue COVID-19-related guidance documents as fast as possible.

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A draft of the House Democrats’ coronavirus stimulus bill circulating Monday (March 23) would urge health care providers against sending patients surprise medical bills for COVID-19 testing and treatment, and the bill would direct insurers to secure in-network treatments for plan participants.

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