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Under a newly proposed rule from HHS, short-term health insurance coverage that doesn’t comply with the Affordable Care Act (ACA) would be more widely available, which the agency admitted may lead to insurer losses on the ACA exchanges if younger, healthier customers leave that market to buy short-term plans.

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).

 

Recent Headlines

United Healthcare not required to give time limits notice

A judge has granted United Healthcare’s motion to partially dismiss a participant's claim to recover benefits under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA).

New Medicare bill would adjust readmissions program, outpatient payments

New legislation introduced in the House Ways and Means Health Subcommittee contains several changes for Medicare policies most affecting hospitals, including allowing “mid-build” off-campus outpatient facilities to be reimbursed at current rates under the Medicare outpatient prospective payment system (OPPS).

Physicians sue HHS over out-of-network payments

A lawsuit against HHS from the American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP) claims the current regulations allow insurers to underpay for emergency services when the hospital is out-of-network.

Vermont may be first state to require drugmakers explain price increases

Legislation waiting for the signature of Vermont’s governor would make the state the first to require pharmaceutical manufacturers to justify raising drug prices.

CDC: Uninsured rate hit record low in 2015

Though 28.6 million Americans remained uninsured in 2015, the number has decreased since the broadest provisions of the Affordable Care Act went into effect. In 2013, the total number of uninsured stood at 44.8 million people.

ACA exchange exits leave more rural areas with one insurer

At least 650 counties are set to have only one insurer to choose from in 2017, up from 225 in 2016.More than

Supreme Court kicks ‘contraceptive mandate’ cases back to lower courts

The Supreme Court won’t rule on challenges by non-profit religious hospitals, colleges, and charities that the Affordable Care Act’s so-called “contraceptive mandate” violates religious freedoms

HHS finalizes anti-discrimination rule

HHS clarifies that protections against gender discrimination included in the Affordable Care Act apply to gender identity.

FDA changes warning label on fluoroquinolones

Safety review of the drugs associated their use with “disabling and potentially permanent serious side effects” involving tendons, muscles, joints, nerves and the central nervous system.

What we know about Republicans’ ACA replacement

New proposal would include changes to Medicare and Medicaid, but won't be released as actual legislation ahead of the Republican National Convention.

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