Noteworthy News

 

The 340B Issue Explained

The section 340B prescription drug discount program has grown increasingly controversial in recent years. The program, established in the 1990s to help hospitals with the cost of the prescription drugs they provide to low-income patients on an outpatient basis, has grown considerably since its inception.  Pharmaceutical companies argue that it is too large, that it contributes to the growing cost of prescription drugs, and that hospitals are not using the savings they reap from the program to serve more low-income patients, as was envisioned when Congress created the program. Eligible providers, on the other hand, note that much of the [&hellip

HHS Unveils Spring Regulatory Agenda

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has published a comprehensive list of the regulatory actions it plans to take in the coming months. Included on the list are regulations that have been proposed, that are being finalized, and that are currently under development.  They address Medicare, Medicaid, Food and Drug Administration endeavors, medical devices, the 340B prescription drug discount program, and more. Among the policy changes contemplated through future regulations are measures to reduce regulatory burdens for hospitals, address the opioid problem, facilitate the use of non-Affordable Care Act-compliant health insurance plans, and more. Go here to see [&hellip

Helping Safety-Net Hospitals Help Their Patients

A new report published on the Health Affairs Blog describes the continuing challenges safety-net hospitals face and offers suggestions for helping them meet those challenges. The challenges, according to the report, are the virtual elimination of the Affordable Care Act’s individual health insurance mandate; the continued decline in the amount of Medicare disproportionate share hospital money (Medicare DSH) provided to safety-net hospitals; and hospital closures that shift more of the burden for caring for uninsured patients onto a smaller pool of safety-net hospitals.  The result is under-served patients and new financial risks for the hospitals that remain after some safety-net [&hellip

A Look at Medicaid Managed Care

With 74 million people enrolled in Medicaid managed care plans – roughly 71 percent of the U.S. Medicaid population – the Health Affairs Blog has taken a broad look at Medicaid managed care, addressing the question of how it works, whether it’s working, and what its future may be. The two-part report notes that some Medicaid managed care companies are highly profitable and that this profitability has increased in recent years.  It also notes that the manner in which these companies serve their members varies greatly, that their medical loss ratios vary considerably from state to state, and that the [&hellip

CMS Rejects Bid to Impose Lifetime Limit on Medicaid Services

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services has denied a request from the state of Kansas to impose a lifetime limit on the Medicaid benefits individuals may receive. In a move that the agency appeared to signal last week and that appears to have national implications, CMS administrator Seema Verma explained that  We have determined that we will not approve Kansas’ recent request to place a lifetime limit on Medicaid benefits for some beneficiaries…We seek to create a pathway out of poverty, but we also understand that people’s circumstances change, and we must ensure that our programs are sustainable and [&hellip

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