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President Donald Trump is considering nominating Alex Azar, a former executive for pharmaceutical giant Eli Lilly, as the next secretary of HHS, which could place the agency in the hands of man who has been skeptical of value-based care and opposed drug price controls.

Sens. Lamar Alexander, R-Tennessee, and Patty Murray, D-Washington, have told reporters they’ve reached an agreement to fund the Affordable Care Act (ACA)’s cost-sharing reduction subsidies to insurers which had been halted by President Donald Trump.

Groups representing physicians, hospitals and patients came out largely in opposition to President Donald Trump’s executive order to encourage the use of insurance plans which don’t comply with Affordable Care Act (ACA) regulations on benefits and covering people with pre-existing conditions.

Cost-sharing reduction subsidies, or CSRs, paid to insurers in exchange for keeping out-of-pocket costs low for lower-income Affordable Care Act (ACA) exchange enrollees will end, HHS announced Thursday night, with the agency saying it couldn’t legally continue making the payments.

President Donald Trump signed an executive order on the morning of Oct. 12 to ease rules on small businesses buying health insurance. With Congress failing to act on Republican promises to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA), Trump will make the unilateral move to reconfigure federal regulations.

 

Recent Headlines

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.

Trump to declare ‘national emergency’ on opioid crisis

Following up on recommendations by his own White House commission, President Donald Trump said he will declare a national public health emergency on the opioid addiction epidemic, which would have an impact on healthcare providers.

ACA insurers seeking premium hikes as high as 49% due to policy uncertainty

In an analysis of what Affordable Care Act (ACA) exchange insurers are requesting to charge customers in 21 major cities in 2018, the Kaiser Family Foundation found the cost for the second-lowest silver-level plan will range from $244 to $631 per month, with most enrollees cushioned from the price hikes by federal subsidies.

Senate passes ‘right-to-try’ bill which critics call ‘deceptive’ to terminal patients

The U.S. Senate unanimously passed a bill on Aug. 3 which would allow terminally ill patients the “right to try” experimental treatments that haven’t yet been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), but critics say it gives patients false hope without allowing for federal oversight.

Senate passes FDA user fee reauthorization

By an easy vote of 94-1, the Senate passed the FDA Reauthorization Act (FDARA) of 2017, approving the user fee agreements paid by pharmaceutical and medical device companies to the Food and Drug Administration.

Hospitals win on $2.4B raise, AO reports, 90-day meaningful use in final IPPS rule

CMS has finalized the Medicare Hospital Inpatient Prospective Payment System (IPPS) and Long Term Acute Care Hospital (LTCH) payment rules, lowering the total increase to $2.4 billion while removing a controversial proposal to require public release of previously confidential hospital inspections by accrediting organizations (AOs).

Court ruling may stop Trump from cutting off ACA insurer subsidies

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit has allowed 16 state attorneys general to intervene in a lawsuit surrounding the Affordable Care Act’s cost-sharing reduction subsidies, or CSRs, paid to insurers for lowering deductibles for low-income ACA enrollees.

Q&A: Why repeal-and-replace of the ACA isn’t dead

Years of efforts by Republicans to repeal and/or repeal the Affordable Care (ACA) culminated in a dramatic early-morning defeat as three GOP senators voted against the rest of their party. Which leaves the healthcare industry wondering: What now?

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