You are here

Policy

 

For two decades, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has supposedly been blocked from conducting research into the health effects of gun violence by a budget amendment. HHS Secretary Alex Azar has a different opinion, telling members of Congress Thursday he would allow the CDC to conduct research which doesn’t veer into advocacy.

Providers have until March 12 to apply for CMS’s new Bundled Payments for Care Improvement (BPCI) Advanced model, though the program was only unveiled on Jan. 9. Considering the details CMS has given about the model, that’s not enough time for hospitals to decide whether to participate, according to the American Hospital Association (AHA).

In his first congressional testimony since being confirmed as HHS Secretary, Alex Azar argued the department’s proposed budget would extend the life of Medicare while making HHS more efficient by cutting nearly $18 billion in funding.

The budget proposed by President Donald Trump involves several major cuts to Medicare payments for hospitals, reductions that are “unsustainable” and “staggering,” according to the Federation of American Hospitals (FAH) and the American Hospital Association (AHA).

The second federal government shutdown of 2018 lasted only six hours, but the budget deal that ended it will have an impact on the healthcare industry for years to come through changes to Medicare payments, the Merit-based Incentive Payment System (MIPS) and repealing one of the most controversial parts of the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

 

Recent Headlines

5 things healthcare should know about Trump’s State of the Union

Healthcare policy was not the main focus of President Donald Trump’s first State of the Union address, though the Jan. 30 speech did include mentions of lowering prescription drug prices, fighting opioid addiction and an endorsement of “right-to-try” legislation being considered by Congress.

5 things to know about voters’ healthcare priorities, ACA awareness heading into 2018 elections

The Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) individual mandate to have health insurance was repealed through the tax cut legislation signed into law late in 2017—but according to a new poll from Kaiser Family Foundation, most Americans either weren’t sure it was repealed or incorrectly believe it remains in place.

HHS sued over work requirements for Medicaid recipients

Less than two weeks after Kentucky became the first state approved to implement work requirements for its “able-bodied” Medicaid beneficiaries, a lawsuit has been filed against HHS and CMS alleging the plan is “an abuse” of the agencies’ regulatory powers.

Health policy priorities passed as part of shutdown deal

The stopgap spending measure funding the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) for six years while delaying taxes on medical devices and health insurance. 

CMS administrator may face ethics investigation on Medicaid waivers

Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Oregon, the top Democrat on the Senate Finance Committee, is asking for an investigation into allegations that CMS Administrator Seema Verma, MPH, has violated her ethics agreement by being involved with Medicaid waivers submitted by states she once counted as clients for her consulting firm.

How healthcare is affected by a government shutdown

More than 40,000 people who work at HHS and its various subagencies have been told not to come to work until Congress passes some sort of legislation to fund the federal government, affecting everything from tracking the flu season to clinical trials at the National Institutes of Health.

HHS creates new religious freedom division in OCR

In a significant shift for HHS’s Office of Civil Rights (OCR), a new “Conscience and Religious Freedom Division” is being created dedicated to complaints from healthcare professionals who feel they were discriminated against due to refusing to perform certain services based on religious or moral objections.

Congressional hearing questions whether Medicaid expansion caused opioid epidemic

Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wisconsin, led a hearing of the Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee where he explored whether Medicaid expansion is at least partially to blame for the rise in opioid addiction and overdose deaths. Federal data, however, shows those problem began more than a decade earlier.

Kentucky becomes 1st state approved for Medicaid work requirements

Days after CMS first issued policy guidance on how states could require “able-bodied” Medicaid beneficiaries to work or face losing their coverage, Kentucky has become the first with an approved waiver to test out those requirements.

The fate of MIPS divides healthcare groups after MedPAC vote

Major healthcare associations had a decidedly mixed reaction to the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (MedPAC) recommending to Congress that the Merit-based Incentive Payment System (MIPS) be eliminated, with some stakeholders saying such a major change would be premature less than three years after the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act (MACRA) was passed.

Pages