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Daily News

July 16, 2019

The Congressional Budget Office on Tuesday (July 16) reported that the wide-ranging Senate health committee bill, which aims to end surprise medical billing, increase transparency and lower prescription drug and other health costs, would save about $7.6 billion over 10 years, largely due to expected decreases in federal spending on insurance premiums as a result of the surprise billing provisions.

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The House Ways & Means Committee on Tuesday (July 16) put together a rural and underserved communities health task force charged with finding bipartisan solutions to improve health care in those communities.

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Senate health committee Chair Lamar Alexander (R-TN) called on CMS to quickly finalize a proposed fiscal 2020 hospital inpatient rule that would raise pay for low-wage hospitals by cutting pay for high-wage hospitals, saying this will help rural hospitals keep up with the cost of providing care, but hospital groups say keeping the proposal budget neutral is unnecessary and could be detrimental to some hospitals.

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Sen. Kamala Harris is the latest Democratic presidential candidate to vow that Americans would not pay more for drugs than other countries pay, if she is elected.

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Lawmakers and federal agencies tasked with monitoring illicit drug flow, including FDA and Customs and Border Protection, pinpointed a lack of data sharing among agencies as a challenge in combating the illicit flow of fentanyl into the United States.

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Nearly all the Democratic members of the Senate Finance Committee asked ranking Democrat Sen. Ron Wyden (OR) to push for government price negotiation authority to be included in the committee’s drug-pricing package.

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The Government Accountability Project, a whistleblower protection group, has filed suit against HHS seeking a federal court order for documents and information related to a years-long dispute over the establishment, and then restructuring, of HHS' cybersecurity center.

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The Trump administration announced Monday evening (July 15) it will begin enforcing its rule that prevents health care providers providing or referring for abortions from receiving Title X family planning grants, even though stakeholders are still challenging the rule in court.

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July 15, 2019

Senate Finance ranking Democrat Ron Wyden (OR) put Republicans on notice that they’ll soon be asked to prove their stated support of protections for people with preexisting conditions now that the Government Accountability Office has said the Trump administration’s updated 1332 waiver guidance should have been issued as a rule.

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Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) released a plan for seniors on Friday (July 12) that includes a number of Medicare proposals, including expanding Medicare services for Alzheimer’s patients, supporting site-neutral payments and expanding telehealth, as other presidential hopefuls begin to release their own health plans.

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CMS on Monday (July 15) proposed to cover acupuncture for Medicare beneficiaries with chronic low back pain who are enrolled in CMS-approved studies or clinic trials sponsored by the National Institutes of Health.

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Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden proposed a Medicare-like public health insurance option that would be offered at no-cost for people in states that have not expanded Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act and would increase premium tax credits for middle-income individuals to purchase exchange coverage.

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Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden proposed a Medicare-like public health insurance option that would be offered at no-cost for people in states that have not expanded Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act and would increase premium tax credits for middle-income individuals to purchase exchange coverage.

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The National Institutes of Health (NIH) will conduct a phase III HIV vaccine efficacy trial at multiple clinical research sites in North America, South America and Europe, the agency announced Monday (July 15).

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The Department of Justice on Friday (July 12) urged a federal appeals court to reverse a lower court’s demand that the government pay billions in cost-sharing reductions ACA issuers say they are owed for 2017 and 2018, arguing Congress never said issuers could incur damage for non-payment.

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The Department of Justice on Monday (July 15) said it will “continue to vigorously defend religious freedom,” after a federal appeals court upheld a lower court ruling that blocked the Trump administration from implementing new rules broadening employers’ ability to sidestep the ACA’s contraceptive coverage mandate.

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Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden over the weekend added himself to the list of Democrats pushing for Medicare drug price negotiation, and his plan includes a foreign-price component that takes a page from President Donald Trump’s plan to tie Medicare Part B drugs to foreign prices.

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FDA lays out how to establish the safety and efficacy of birth control medicines, including oral contraceptives, long-acting injectables and intrauterine systems (IUSs), in draft guidance published Thursday (July 11).

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July 12, 2019

CMS is working on possible changes to the end stage renal disease pay system as part of a broader kidney care revamp unveiled by HHS Wednesday (July 10), as the agency says that “continual refinement of the ESRD PPS is necessary to benefit people living with ESRD.”

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The House is scheduled to vote next Wednesday (July 17) on Rep. Joe Courtney’s (D-CT) legislation to repeal the Affordable Care Act’s 40 percent tax on high-cost health plans, known as the “Cadillac Tax.”

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