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Topic: News from DC

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Judge declares ACA unconstitutional

On Friday, December 14, Judge Reed O’Connor of the Federal District Court in the Northern District of Texas issued a declaratory judgment holding the shared responsibility provision (also referred to as the “Individual Mandate”), and with it, the entire Affordable Care Act (“ACA”), to be unconstitutional. The case is Texas v. United States and California … Continue reading

Medicaid update: CMS again approves Kentucky HEALTH Medicaid demonstration

On November 20, 2018, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (“CMS”) again approved the Kentucky HEALTH 1115 demonstration.  Kentucky HEALTH  was the first Section 1115 demonstration that CMS approved with a work and community engagement requirement as a condition of eligibility for coverage under Medicaid.  The demonstration requires certain Medicaid beneficiaries to engage in … Continue reading

CMS significantly expands its Medicare site-neutral payment policy

We previously summarized certain provisions of CMS’s CY 2019 OPPS/ASC final rule published on November 2. See here. In this final rule CMS significantly expands its Medicare site-neutral payment policy beginning January 1, 2019. As we previously described, CMS did not finalize its proposal that an excepted off-campus provider-based department (PBD) will be paid under … Continue reading

CMS publishes CY 2019 changes to hospital outpatient prospective payment and ambulatory surgical center payment systems and quality reporting programs final rule

On November 2, CMS published its CY 2019 hospital outpatient prospective payment and ambulatory surgical center payment systems and quality reporting programs final rule. In the final rule CMS implements its proposal to pay clinic visit services performed in excepted off-campus provider-based departments (PBDs) a Medicare Physician Fee Schedule – equivalent payment rate. These services … Continue reading

CMS publishes CY 2019 Home Health and Home Infusion Therapy final rule

Earlier this summer the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) published its Calendar Year (CY) 2019 home health agency (HHA) and home infusion therapy supplier payment updates proposed rule. On October 31, CMS published its CY 2019 final rule, which alters Medicare quality and payment reporting processes for HHAs under the Home Health Prospective … Continue reading

GAO releases report on the differences between 340B and non-340B hospitals

On June 18, the United States Government Accountability Office (GAO) released a report on the 340B program, entitled “Drug Discount Program: Characteristics of Hospitals Participating and Not Participating in the 340B Program.” The 340B Drug Discount Program requires drug manufacturers to provide discounts on outpatient drugs to certain categories of eligible hospitals. Hospitals that serve … Continue reading

CMS opens new comment period for Kentucky HEALTH

“In light of the district court’s decision in Stewart v. Azar,” CMS has opened a new 30-day comment period for the Kentucky HEALTH demonstration project that would implement work or community engagement requirements as a condition of eligibility.  On June 29, 2018, Judge James E. Boasberg of the U.S. Federal District Court for the District … Continue reading

House Subcommittee on Health holds hearing on 340B program

On July 11, the U.S. House of Representatives Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health held a hearing on the 340B program, entitled “Opportunities to Improve the 340B Drug Pricing Program.” In his opening statement, Subcommittee Chairman Michael Burgess (R-TX) stated that it is reasonable to review the 340B program because healthcare has “evolved significantly” since … Continue reading

Status of Medicaid reform in Kentucky, Mississippi and Maine

On January 11, 2018, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) sent a letter to State Medicaid Directors that signaled their support of section 1115 demonstration projects that include work or community engagement requirements, as previously summarized in the Health Law Pulse. CMS prompted State Medicaid Directors to respond to this letter with proposals … Continue reading

Coalition of conservative groups release outline of plan to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act

On June 19, the Health Policy Consensus Group, a coalition of conservative groups including the Heritage Foundation, the Galen Institute and the Hoover Institution, released an outline of a new proposal to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA).  The plan is similar to the Graham-Cassidy bill that Congress failed to enact last year.  … Continue reading

MedPAC recommends to Congress a 30 percent reduction in Medicare payment rates for services provided in certain hospital off-campus emergency departments

In its June 2018 Report to the Congress the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (MedPAC) recommends that Congress reduce Medicare Type A emergency department payment rates by 30 percent for services furnished in hospital off-campus emergency departments that are located within six miles of a hospital on-campus emergency department.  MedPAC also recommends that Congress should enable … Continue reading

Virginia to expand Medicaid in January 2019; Utah will vote on Medicaid expansion this November

Virginia is expected to become the 33rd state (plus the District of Columbia) to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) following the passage of a budget by the Virginia legislature.  The expansion will take effect on January 1, 2019 and it is expected to provide coverage to close to 400,000 individuals.  Prior attempts … Continue reading

Maine court hears argument on Medicaid expansion

Maine Superior Court Justice Michaela Murphy heard arguments on May 24, 2018 about whether Governor Paul LePage must take steps to expand Medicaid in Maine.  In April, a group of residents and advocacy organizations filed a lawsuit against Maine’s Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) for failing to expand Medicaid following the November 2017 … Continue reading

OIG launches new compliance resource portal

The OIG recently launched a new compliance resource portal, compiling some of its resources into one user-friendly webpage. The Compliance Resource Portal provides a list of links to categories of “handy resources for the public that can help ensure that you are in compliance with Federal health care laws,” and may serve as a valuable … Continue reading

Recent effort to regulate pharmaceutical pricing deemed unconstitutional by Fourth Circuit

In the absence of federal action, states have attempted to rein in high pharmaceutical pricing by enacting laws aimed at regulating drug pricing. Following what now has become a trend, on March 13, 2018, Oregon became the newest state to enact such legislation, The Prescription Drug Price Transparency Act, H.B. 4005. But many of these … Continue reading

Twenty states file a lawsuit alleging the ACA is unconstitutional without the individual mandate penalty

A group of twenty states has filed a lawsuit against the Trump administration alleging that the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is unconstitutional.  Plaintiffs take the position that the elimination of the individual mandate penalty in  the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (Pub. L. No. 115-97), without a corresponding elimination of the individual mandate, renders the … Continue reading

Budget Act codifies Stark liberalizations

As we previously reported, on February 9, the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives approved the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018 (the “Act”) and President Trump subsequently signed the bill into law.  Section 50404 of the Act includes several amendments to the Stark Law.  Specifically, Section 50404 endorses recent liberalizations of the Stark Law requirements … Continue reading

Congressional hearings held on the Trump administration’s FY 2019 budget request and health care industry consolidation

On February 14, 2018, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced projections that national health care spending is expected to increase an average of 5.5% a year between 2017 – 2026 and will account for almost 20% of Gross Domestic Product by 2026.  This announcement provides context for the continued focus on controlling … Continue reading

US Congress agrees to and President Trump signs budget deal that includes health care provisions

Early this morning, Friday, February 9, the US Senate voted 71 – 28 to approve a budget proposal.  Subsequently, the House of Representatives passed by a 240 – 186 vote the budget package and President Trump has signed the bill into law.  The legislation reportedly:  (i) funds federal agencies until March 23; (ii) includes US$89.3 … Continue reading
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