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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

Ending DACA may worsen doctor shortage

The move by the administration of President Donald Trump to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) immigration policy in six months without congressional action was harshly criticized by major medical associations, which warned removing DACA protections could affect access to care in rural and underserved areas.

Governors to Congress: ‘Make a clear commitment’ to value-based care

A group of eight governors—five Democrats, two Republicans and one independent—have proposed a series of reforms they hope congressional leaders use in crafting legislation to stabilize the Affordable Care Act (ACA) markets.

Trump cuts ACA advertising budget by 90%

Last year, CMS spent more than $100 million on advertising the Affordable Care Act exchanges (ACA). Under President Donald Trump, it will only spend $10 million, while also cutting 41 percent from outreach activities meant to boost enrollment on the exchanges.

What major medical groups want in regulatory relief

The American College of Physicians (ACP), the American Hospital Association (AHA) and the Federation of American Hospitals (FAH) submitted comments to the House’s health subcommittee suggesting options for rolling back healthcare regulations on quality measures, hospital ratings and physician self-referral laws.

More MIPS exemptions ‘relief’ to some, counterproductive to others

More than 1,100 organizations and individuals offered comments on proposed changes for the second year of the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act’s (MACRA) Quality Payment Program (QPP), and some questioned the reasoning behind exempting more clinicians from the new payment tracks.

Only 1 rural county still at risk of having no ACA insurer

Less than a month ago, CMS reported 40 counties were in danger of having no insurer offering coverage through the Affordable Care Act (ACA) exchange. As of Aug. 21, that number was shrunk to just one: Paulding County, Ohio.

Trump quietly signs FDA user fee reauthorization

With almost zero fanfare, President Donald Trump signed the FDA Reauthorization Act (FDARA) of 2017 into law on Aug. 18, approving the user fee agreements paid by pharmaceutical and medical device companies to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Majority of Americans now support universal health coverage

60 percent of Americans believe it’s the government’s responsibility to provide universal health coverage, representing a major shift in opinion since 2013, according to an analysis published in the New England Journal of Medicine.

Hospital groups split on CMS canceling mandatory bundles

CMS confirmed Tuesday it will cancel two mandatory bundled payment programs and scale back another—and not all hospitals are happy about it.

CMS to cancel mandatory bundles

A rule title posted to the Federal Register on Aug. 10 indicates CMS will cancel two mandatory bundled payment programs, the Advancing Care Coordination through Episode Payment Models (EPMs) and Cardiac Rehabilitation Incentive (CRI) Payment Models, while changing a separate payment program on joint replacements.

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