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Several changes to Medicare Advantage and Medicare Part D prescription drug plans have been included in a proposed rule by CMS in an effort to fight opioid abuse among seniors while taking another step towards reducing regulations.

Between Nov. 1 and Nov. 11, nearly 1.5 million people signed up for health insurance coverage on the Healthcare.gov exchange, an increase of almost 500,000 from the same period last year.

Republican leaders in the Senate announced Nov. 14 they will include a repeal of the Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate in their tax reform proposal. After failing numerous times to repeal and replace the ACA, GOP leaders are hoping to include the healthcare reform in the tax bill.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced a public health advisory about risks associated with kratom, an herbal supplement used to treat pain and reduce opioid withdrawal symptoms.

In the first update to U.S. guidelines on blood pressure in 14 years, a writing committee changed the definition of high blood pressure from 140/90 millimeters of mercury or higher to 130/80 or higher.

 

Recent Headlines

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.

Healthcare industry taking Graham-Cassidy ACA repeal bill more seriously

Once thought to be the policy equivalent of a Hail Mary pass, the plan to replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA) known as the Graham-Cassidy bill appears to have gained momentum—and with it, extra attention from healthcare industry groups like the American Medical Association (AMA) that have opposed Republicans’ so-far unsuccessful efforts to repeal the law.

5 things to know about the Graham-Cassidy ACA repeal bill

Amid attempts to agree on short-term stabilization of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and Democrats coming out in support for a “Medicare-for-all” bill, a group of Republican senators unveiled what could be their last chance to repeal and replace the ACA.

‘Difficult needle to thread’ on ACA fix with easier state waivers

Members of the Senate Health, Labor, Education and Pensions (HELP) Committee were encouraged to offer greater flexibility under the Affordable Care Act’s “state innovation waivers,” the details of which could spell trouble for the fledging compromise between Democrats and Republicans on a quick fix for the law.

Medicare-for-all bill to be introduced in Senate

Legislation to move the U.S. to a single-payer, “Medicare-for-all” healthcare system will be introduced Wednesday, Sept. 13, by former presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vermont, with several potential presidential contenders in 2020 already lining up behind the bill. 

Senators hope to reach agreement on ACA fix next week

In the first of series of hearings aimed at building consensus on a plan to stabilize the Affordable Care Act’s insurance marketplace, state insurance commissioners asked for lawmakers to pass a multi-year extension of the ACA’s payments to insurers.

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