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ML Strategies Weekly Health Care Preview - Week of October 29th

October 29, 2018 | Blog | By Eli Greenspan

Open Enrollment is fast approaching and the landscape with be notably different than in years past. From the introduction of short-term plans and association health plans to proposals to allow for greater use of health reimbursement arrangements, the strength of the Marketplace will be tested and will inform future policy considerations. We cover this and more in this week's health care preview.
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Fall 2018 Agency Rule List & FDA Device Center Guidance Priorities

October 24, 2018 | Blog | By Aaron Josephson

On October 17th, the Administration released its semiannual forecast of the rules that the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) will be churning out over the next year. The list includes nearly 200 rules, 23 of which are already posted on the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) dashboard. The bulk of the rules on the Agency Rule List for Fall are under the purview of CMS or the FDA (63 and 77 rules, respectively). Also, earlier in October, FDA’s device center released a list of draft and final guidance documents it plans to publish in FY 2019. Many of these rules or guidance documents touch on issues top of mind and we expect that the administration will be moving forward with many of these priorities in the coming months. 
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Trump Administration Proposes Requiring Disclosure of Drug Prices in TV Ads

October 17, 2018 | Blog | By Lauren Moldawer, Theresa Carnegie

The Trump Administration is moving full speed ahead with its proposals under the Blueprint to Lower Drug Prices (the “Blueprint”). Earlier this week, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (“CMS”) released a proposed rule that would require pharmaceutical manufacturers to disclose the list price of their pharmaceutical products in direct-to-consumer (“DTC”) television ads (the “Proposed Rule”).
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ML Strategies Health Care Preview - Week of October 15th

October 15, 2018 | Blog | By Eli Greenspan

Congress has left town until after the midterm elections, but the Administration is continuing to advance its priorities in the regulatory arena. This week, the Administration is expected to publish the proposed rule, "Medicare and Medicaid Programs; Regulation to Require Drug Pricing Transparency." We cover this and the political implications in this week's health care preview.
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ML Strategies Weekly Health Care Preview - October 9, 2018

October 9, 2018 | Blog | By Eli Greenspan

While the House is out on recess, the Senate continues to be in session. This week the Senate has some non-health care related hearings scheduled as well as nomination hearings. We are looking for signals for a deal to finish work and send vulnerable Senators home to campaign. However, while legislative action may begin to cool down, regulatory activity at OIRA could be heating up.
Viewpoint General
The final bipartisan opioid package, which passed in the Senate this week and is expected to be signed into law, includes a significant revision from the original House bill that could lead to an increase in treatment options for Medicaid beneficiaries suffering from substance use disorder (“SUD”). The final version of the “SUPPORT for Patients and Communities Act” will provide state Medicaid programs with the option to cover SUD treatment in certain Institutions for Mental Diseases (“IMD”) for Medicaid beneficiaries between the ages of 21 and 64.
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On September 25, 2018, House and Senate negotiators agreed on a final legislative package to address the opioid crisis. Following this agreement, the House passed the opioid package on September 28, 2018. The Senate is expected to pass the package in the weeks ahead, and the President is expected to sign the package into law. ML Strategies has created a chart tracking the provision of the final opioid package.
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You might have missed it but Congress averted a government shutdown last week. While several appropriations bills passed on time for the first time in years, several agencies, including the FDA, were funded on a continuing resolution (CR). The CR provides funding until December 7th and will need to be addressed again by that time. However, the House is now in recess and won’t be back in town until after the midterm elections. So the lame duck session will have a few ‘must dos’ on the list.
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ML Strategies Weekly Health Care Preview - Week of September 24th

September 24, 2018 | Blog | By Eli Greenspan

This week, Congress and the White House need to finalize a government spending bill in order to avoid a shutdown. While all signs point to a deal being reached, it is widely expected that several agencies will be operating on a continuing resolution for the first couple months of fiscal year 2019. While the Departments of Labor, HHS, and Education are expected to receive a full appropriation prior to September 30th, the FDA, which is funded through the Department of Agriculture, is expected to be funded through the continuing resolution, which will go through December 7th.
In May, the Trump Administration announced its Blueprint to Lower Drug Prices and HHS Secretary Azar issued a Request for Information seeking comments from interested parties “to help shape future policy development and agency action” related to drug pricing issues.

CMS Focuses on a Modern Medicare

July 23, 2018 | Blog | By Bridgette Keller

Earlier this month, CMS proposed changes to the Medicare Physician Fee Schedule and Quality Payment Program with the goal of “modernizing Medicare and restoring the doctor-patient relationship.”

Court of Appeals Weighs in on 340B

July 18, 2018 | Blog | By Ellyn Sternfield

Timing is everything.  In yesterday’s post on 340B, I stated in closing: There is still one more shoe to drop.

July 2018: Where Are We Now With 340B?

July 17, 2018 | Blog | By Ellyn Sternfield

It seems like every week, there are multiple new developments in the 340B program. While it has just been a few weeks since my last 340B blog post, since that time we have had another Senate hearing, a new GAO Report, a new House hearing, and introduction of more than a dozen new bills in Congress.
Some very good news for the telehealth community can be found amidst the more than 1,400 pages of the proposed Medicare Physician Fee Schedule for 2019(“Proposed Rule”) issued by CMS yesterday.
State Medicaid Agencies have historically engaged in an epic balancing act.  Federal law requires State Medicaid Agencies to ensure beneficiaries have access to medically necessary services.  Federal law also requires State Medicaid Agencies to safeguard their Medicaid Programs against fraud, waste or abuse in billing for Medicaid services.
It has been a few weeks since the publication of the Trump Administration’s Blueprint to Lower Drug Prices, and Secretary Azar’s  Request for Information (RFI) on the Blueprint.  We previously posted about the Blueprint’s focus on the 340B Drug Discount Program.
HHS's Office of Medicare Hearings and Appeals (OMHA) has long faced a backlog in Medicare appeals to Administrative Law Judges (ALJs). In an effort to address this backlog, OMHA established a Settlement Conference Facilitation (SCF) process.

Ohio Submits 1115 Waiver on Work Requirements

May 23, 2018 | Blog | By Eli Greenspan

In a previous blog, we reviewed pending and approved 1115 waivers in 11 states. These reviews provide an overview of 1115 waiver applications, including a focus on work requirements, lock-outs, changes in coverage structures, repealing the Medicaid IMD exclusion, and other behavioral health initiatives.  
On Wednesday May 9th, I was floored when the Administration released the Spring 2018 Unified Agenda of Regulatory and Deregulatory Actions, which contained this nugget: by December 2018, HRSA will publish its 340B Omnibus Guidance. Readers of our blog know that, as we predicted, this so-called Mega-Guidance was withdrawn in January 2017 without ever seeing the light of day.
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