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Policy

 

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.

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.

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.

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.

Full-year quality reporting will be required in the Merit-based Incentive Payment System (MIPS) for the first time in 2018, but clinicians haven’t received word from CMS on whether they’re eligible to participate, according to the Medical Group Management Association (MGMA).

 

Recent Headlines

HHS Secretary to pay back $52K of $1M in total travel costs

HHS Secretary Tom Price, MD, has announced he’ll reimburse the federal government for using private charter flights after POLITICO investigations have found he racked up $1 million in publicly-funded travel costs. However, he’ll only pay back the cost of his seat on domestic charter flights, amounting to $52,000.

Trump preparing order on selling health insurance across state lines

After another effort to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA) was halted, President Donald Trump told reporters he’ll likely sign an executive order regarding another one of his campaign promises on healthcare: allowing insurance plans to be offered across state lines.

Healthcare groups tell Congress to move on ‘for good’ from ACA repeal

Major healthcare associations said they were relieved by Senate Republicans’ decision to table the Graham-Cassidy legislation to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA), bringing at least a temporary halt to the party’s efforts to replace the law with only Republican votes.

Graham-Cassidy ACA repeal bill tabled: ‘We’re coming back to this’

Senate Republicans have decided not to vote on the Graham-Cassidy legislation to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA), putting an end to months of efforts to pass a repeal bill before a Sept. 30 deadline for it to clear the Senate with a simple majority.

Graham-Cassidy bill gets a hearing, a CBO score—and another ‘no’ vote

Sept. 25 ended up being a rough day for supporters of the Graham-Cassidy legislation to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA), beginning with the bill’s only scheduled hearing being interrupted by protesters shouting, “No cuts to Medicaid, save our liberty.”

CNN debate goes beyond ACA repeal to single-payer, pharma prices

The namesakes of the Graham-Cassidy bill to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA) argued the law is “broken” in a CNN healthcare debate, with Sens. Bernie Sanders, I-Vermont, and Amy Klobuchar, D-Minnesota, arguing members of Congress should be focusing on short-term fixes discussed by both parties and leave larger overhauls for later.  

What’s in the new version of Graham-Cassidy ACA repeal bill

Multiple risk pools and extra money aimed at states represented by Republican swing votes are among the changes made in a new version of the Graham-Cassidy bill to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA) to be released less than five days before a deadline to pass it with a simple majority in the U.S. Senate.

McCain to oppose Graham-Cassidy ACA repeal, possibly sinking bill

The last time Senate Republicans tried to move forward on repealing the Affordable Care Act, it was Sen. John McCain, R-Arizona, who sunk the effort with a dramatic thumbs down. He may have done so again with the latest repeal plan, the Graham-Cassidy bill, announcing Sept. 22 he “cannot in good conscience vote” for the proposal.

Insurance groups oppose latest ACA repeal plan

Adding to opposition already expressed by physician and hospital groups, America’s Health Insurance Plans (AHIP) and the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association (BCBSA) came out against the Graham-Cassidy legislation to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

CMS plans ‘new direction’ for CMMI models

CMS Administrator Seema Verma, MPH, said the Trump administration will take the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation (CMMI) in a “new direction,” claiming the policies under the last administration encouraged consolidation and providers need more “freedom” to design new care delivery models.

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