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Daily News

April 03, 2019

The House Energy & Commerce Committee voted unanimously Wednesday (April 3) for six bills to cut drug prices after Democrats agreed to changes sought by Republicans to CREATES and pay-for-delay bills.

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Rep. Mark Meadows (NC) is writing what he says is a comprehensive drug-pricing bill with fellow House Republicans that could expand rebate reforms to the commercial market, the Freedom Caucus chair told Inside Health Policy Wednesday (April 3).

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A group of conservative health policy experts, known as the Health Care Consensus Group, has been meeting weekly to craft a GOP plan to replace the Affordable Care Act, and that effort took on new importance when President Donald Trump tweeted Wednesday (April 3) that his health care plan will be a prominent part of his 2020 campaign.

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Details about the consequences of work requirements on those that don’t comply are a sticking point in the Idaho legislature’s effort to pass a scaled-back version of the state’s voter approved Medicaid expansion.

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CMS on Wednesday (April 3) formally approved Maine’s Medicaid expansion three months after the state began offering coverage to people in the expansion group using state funds.

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Senate Republicans are buckling down on making prescription drug pricing a top health care priority after President Donald Trump upended their health care agenda last week by asking GOP senators to devise a plan to replace the Affordable Care Act.

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CMS emphasized the importance of accurate provider directories for Medicare Advantage plans, saying that inaccuracies can bring plans’ network adequacy into question, but did not finalize new policy to improve the directories as part of the MA and Part D call letter for next year.

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Reps. Markwayne Mullin (R-OK) and Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) reintroduced anticipated bipartisan legislation Wednesday (April 3) that would align the strict privacy scheme for substance abuse treatment records, 42 CFR Part 2, with the less-stringent Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA).

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Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) applauded FDA for funding research on durations of use for antibiotics in food animals.

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The Department of Labor’s Employee Benefits Security Administration is consulting with the Justice Department on whether to appeal a federal court ruling that shot down key parts of the administration’s final rule expanding access to association health plans.

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CMS is considering potential rulemaking to deal with so-called Duals-Special Needs Plan look-alikes, as the agency says stakeholders’ concerns have reinforced the idea that the proliferation of these plans impedes meaningfully integrated Medicare-Medicaid products.

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April 02, 2019

The Senate on Tuesday (April 2) passed a bill to stop drug companies from avoiding Medicaid rebates by misclassifying brand drugs as generics, sending the first drug-pricing bill of this Congress to the president’s desk.

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President Donald Trump stepped back his demand that the Senate immediately craft a health bill to replace the Affordable Care Act, following a conversation with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), and is now saying that a plan will be voted on after the 2020 elections.

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Democratic senators on Tuesday reintroduced a revised version of their Medicare-X bill that would make a government-run public option available first in areas that lack competition, but by 2025 the plan would be in all individual and small business exchanges.

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Ranking House Energy & Commerce Committee Republican Greg Walden (OR) said the two parties seem to have worked out differences on FDA-related drug pricing bills that the committee will mark up Wednesday (April 3).

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Republicans and Democrats both said they want to pass legislation that shield patients from surprise billing during the House Education & Labor Committee's first hearing on the issue, and they looked toward existing state regulations as a possible roadmap.

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A federal district court judge denied multiple requests from the federal government to stop a lawsuit beneficiary advocates first brought about eight years ago seeking appeal rights for Medicare beneficiaries that are put under observation rather than admitted to the hospital, and the judge says the suit should quickly move to trial.

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Nebraska’s governor on Monday (April 1) unveiled a plan to delay the state’s voter-approved Medicaid expansion by more than a year and create two different tiers of coverage in the expansion population where beneficiaries would have to meet a work requirement to qualify for full Medicaid benefits.

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In a white paper released Tuesday (April 2), FDA details an oversight process that outgoing agency commissioner Scott Gottlieb said could allow artificial intelligence-based medical devices to iterate autonomously while still letting FDA provide a reasonable assurance of safety and effectiveness.

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HHS Inspector General Dan Levinson will be leaving the administration at end of May after 14 years as IG, HHS Secretary Alex Azar announced in a statement on Tuesday (April 2).

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