November 12, 2018| Blog
This week, Congress returns to Washington for its lame duck session with uncertain expectations for what gets done between now and the next funding deadline of December 7, 2018. There are a number of legislative items that passed one chamber and not the other, and watch to see which bills make it across the finish line.
November 5, 2018| Blog
All eyes are on Tuesday and what the midterm elections mean broadly and in the health care space. The implications are far reaching, from the House to the Senate, and even the gubernatorial races. Read the full post for links to our weekly preview and coverage of the elections.
October 29, 2018| Blog
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.
October 29, 2018| Blog
On Wednesday, October 25th President Trump, along with HHS Secretary Alex Azar, introduced the administration’s new proposal to lower drug prices through Medicare Part B. The announcement follows ASPE’s morning release of a report comparing U.S. drug prices to international drug prices. The report, which used Medicare Part B payment numbers, stated that the U.S. has about 1.8 times higher ex-manufacturer prices for top drugs than other countries, and the new proposal intends to align U.S. prices with those abroad. The proposal that President Trump discussed will use CMS authority to test three new measures. One will use international pricing as a metric, one will develop a new competitive acquisition program (CAP), and one would alter the average sales price (ASP) model already in effect. Comments on the proposals are due December 31, 2018.
October 24, 2018| Blog
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.
October 24, 2018| Blog
The Massachusetts Health Policy Commission (“HPC”) held its annual Health Care Cost Trends Hearing on October 16-17, 2018. The hearing covered a wide range of topics affecting the health care industry here in the Commonwealth and across the country. Here are some key takeaways and a legislative outlook.
October 22, 2018| Blog
While Congress is in full campaign-mode, the Administration is continuing its regulatory push in the health space. On Monday, the Administration put forth new guidance on Section 1332 waivers. These waivers were created by the Affordable Care Act as a way for states to seek additional flexibility to pursue avenues for providing high quality and affordable health coverage. Today's guidance will put the Administration out front on interpreting state proposal's to drive innovation. We cover this and more in this week's health care preview.
October 9, 2018| Blog
This October 3rd marked the 10-year anniversary of the passage of the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act (MHPAEA). Now, 10 years later, the question is whether the law has changed the playing field to ensure greater access to care and more equitable financial parameters. Although the passage of this legislation created a pathway for change, there are still challenges to address. Hopefully our path forward will continue address these issues of implementation, so we approach the day when those living with mental health and substance use disorders will be seen as having a condition or disease that deserves prevention strategies, supports and treatment services, and civil rights protections similar to all other medical conditions.
October 9, 2018| Blog
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.
October 2, 2018| Blog
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.
October 1, 2018| Blog
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.
September 17, 2018| Blog
This week, Congress is off and running with two emerging priorities to complete before members head off to campaign. With the midterms just 50 days away, the longer issues like opioids and appropriations remain unsolved the more likely they are to get punted until after the midterms.
July 23, 2018| Blog
This week, the House is looking at advancing several health care tax proposals, including permanent repeal of the medical device tax. They will also consider a proposal to delay the health insurance tax by two years.
July 16, 2018| Blog
Congress is in session this week with six important health care hearings, including hearings on Medicare fraud, mental health, and Stark reform. Meanwhile, the Administration continues to put forth new proposed rules and guidance that will impact many stakeholders between now and the end of the year.
July 9, 2018| Blog
This week, Congress returns from recess to another four-week work period. The dynamics of the next four weeks might be in flux now that President Trump has nominated Brett Kavanaugh to the U.S. Supreme Court.
June 26, 2018| Alert
On June 20, Massachusetts lawmakers approved legislation aimed at preventing several high profile ballot questions from appearing before voters in November.
June 25, 2018| Blog
This week, focus turns to the Senate as the House overwhelmingly passed its opioid package known as H.R. 6 last week (see our previous coverage here). The Senate will look to combine its various proposals into one package for floor consideration and what passes will provide a timeline for reconciling the House and Senate packages.
June 25, 2018| Alert
On Tuesday, June 19, 2018, the Massachusetts House of Representatives passed comprehensive health care legislation by a vote of 117-32.
June 21, 2018| Blog
The government is focusing on opioids. Whether it be program policies, enforcement, or legislation, combating the opioid epidemic continues to be a major focus for government officials. It is also a major piece of the health care legislation moving in both the House and the Senate.
June 20, 2018| Blog
On June 19, the Health Policy Consensus Group, which is a group led by former Sen. Rick Santorum (R-PA) and composed of several conservative think tanks, released a white paper proposal to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA).
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