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The Affordable Care Act’s taxes on health insurance, high-cost health plans and medical devices would be delayed under a series of bills introduced by House Republicans, with the Medical Imaging & Technology Alliance (MITA) quickly coming out in support of suspending the device tax.

Two Senate Democrats have asked CMS and HHS to make a last-minute extension of the open enrollment period for the Affordable Care Act (ACA)’s insurance exchanges, arguing the Dec. 15 deadline will leave too many interested customers either without health coverage or automatically enrolled into plans which “may no longer be the best choice for their families.”

The repeal of the Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate has been projected to cause insurance premiums to rise by an average of 10 percent through 2027. Those hikes would be mitigated, however, if Congress funded the ACA’s cost-sharing reduction subsidies and a $10 billion, two-year reinsurance program, according to an analysis from Avalere.

The American Hospital Association (AHA) suggested the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (MedPAC) pump the brakes on advocating for major changes to Merit-based Incentive Payment System (MIPS), saying any major shifts wouldn’t have “the benefit of data or experience” considering this is the program’s first performance year.

The largest health insurers—UnitedHealthcare, Aetna, Anthem, Cigna and Humana—are getting nearly 60 percent of their total combined revenue from Medicare and Medicaid plans, according to a Health Affairs study, with that money more than doubling since the Affordable Care Act (ACA) was passed.

 

Recent Headlines

CMS looks to adapt ACO benchmarks to regional realities

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services is proposing changes in the benchmarks it uses to evaluate ACOs in the Medicare Shared Savings Program.

California hospital pays more than $3.2 million to settle allegations

A hospital in Oceanside, Calif., agreed to pay more than $3.2 million to settle claims it violated laws and Medicare’s prohibition on having an illegal financial relationship with referring physicians.

Government Accountability Office finds flaws in FDA's methods

According to a new 42-page report published by investigators from the Government Accountability Office (GAO), there are significant flaws in the way the FDA tracks drugs after they come to market. 

Supreme Court won't hear Medtronic case

Caplinger v. Medtronic Inc., the lawsuit in which a patient accused Medtronic of allowing doctors to use its INFUSE Bone Graft product in ways not approved by the FDA, made it all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, but the Court announced it has declined to hear the case. 

Nonprofit hospitals under the taxman’s magnifying glass

Nonprofit hospitals getting challenged on their tax-exempt status have been much in the news of late.  

Slavitt shares CMS implementation goals for 2016

Successfully achieving change in healthcare is 90 percent about implementation, said Andy Slavitt, acting director of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, speaking at the 34th Annual J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference in San Francisco.

Obama vetoes ACA repeal bill, but Republicans claim a victory of sorts

President Obama has fended off Congressional Republicans’ latest stab at rolling back the Affordable Care Act, but this time GOP legislators says things are different: They succeeded for the first time in getting a repeal bill onto the President’s desk.

Journos chronicle disregard for privacy, intimidation of whistleblowers at the VA

From long waits to manipulated medical records to preventable deaths, the Department of Veterans Affairs has had more than its share of problems over the past few years. That’s no secret. 

Pediatric hospitals hit hard by ACA payment reductions

Anticipating a plunge in the number of uninsured patients, the framers of the Affordable Care Act reduced disproportionate-share (DSH) payments to hospitals serving outsized indigent and Medicaid populations. A recent crunch of the numbers shows the cuts are placing particular pains on children’s hospitals. 

FTC plans on blocking proposed merger between two Chicago hospitals

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) announced on Dec. 18 that it planned on blocking the proposed merger of two major hospital systems in Chicago, the third time in six weeks that the FTC challenged a proposed hospital merger.

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