POLICY BRIEFINGS


Medicare Advantage: Premiums to Decrease/MLR Proposed Rule


CMS announced that preliminary estimates show that Medicare Advantage rates will fall by more than 2% in 2014, given that the per capita Medicare growth rate percentage, the key factor in determining Medicare Advantage rates, will fall by 2.3%. CMS also released a proposed rule, Medical Loss Ratio Requirements for the Medicare Advantage and the Medicare Prescription Drug Benefit Programs, which would put a new 15% cap on overhead and profits for health plans in Medicare Advantage and for Medicare drug plans. Comments on the proposed rule are due April 16.


FDA - Hydrocodone & Counterfeit Pharmaceuticals


Senators Rockefeller (D-WV), Manchin (D-WV), Kirk (R-IL), Feinstein (D-CA), Schumer (D-NY) and Gillibrand (D-NY) and Reps. Markey (D-MA) and Buchanan (R-FL) sent a letter to the FDA Commissioner urging the agency to take action to tighten the classification of prescription painkillers containing hydrocodone. They asked for the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to provide a detailed response on the steps the agency will take to reclassify such drugs from Schedule III to Schedule II under the Controlled Substances Act. Also, Senator Rockefeller sent letters to CMS, the FDA and the Government Accountability Office (GAO) seeking specific steps that each agency can take to help contain the abuse of prescription drugs and methadone, in particular. In other news, the Institute of Medicine (IOM) released a report to the FDA which states that the federal government needs a drug tracking system to plug holes in the supply chain as well as stronger licensing requirements for drug wholesalers in order to reduce the chance that counterfeit and substandard drugs are released to the public. The report suggests a national tracking system is needed so that companies do not have to comply with multiple state requirements. Finally, a letter was sent to the Postmaster General from 88 House members requesting that the USPS continue to deliver prescription drugs on Saturday, even if the agency ends Saturday delivery later this year.


Health Legislation Recently Introduced


H.R. 594 (DISEASE RESEARCH), to reauthorize and extend the Paul D. Wellstone Muscular Dystrophy Community Assistance, Research, and Education Amendments of 2008; BURGESS; to the Committee on Energy and Commerce, Feb. 8.

H.R. 607 (REFORM), to delay until 2016 provisions of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act scheduled to take effect in 2014 or 2015 and to delay the application of sequestration until 2014; THORNBERRY; jointly, to the committees on the Budget, Education and the Workforce, Ways and Means, the Judiciary, Natural Resources, Rules, Appropriations, House Administration, and Energy and Commerce, Feb. 8.

S. 314 (CHILDREN’S HEALTH), to amend the Public Health Service Act to improve the health of children and help better understand and enhance awareness about unexpected sudden death in early life; LAUTENBERG; to the Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions, Feb. 13.

S. 316 (POSTAL WORKERS HEALTH BENEFITS), to recalculate and restore retirement annuity obligations of the United States Postal Service, to eliminate the requirement that the United States Postal Service prefund the Postal Service Retiree Health Benefits Fund, to place restrictions on the closure of postal facilities, to create incentives for innovation for the United States Postal Service, to maintain levels of postal service, and for other purposes; SANDERS; to the Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, Feb. 13.

S. 323 (MEDICARE), to amend Title XVIII of the Social Security Act to provide for extended months of Medicare coverage of immunosuppressive drugs for kidney transplant patients and other renal dialysis provisions; DURBIN; to the Committee on Finance, Feb. 13.

S. 324 (MEDICARE), to amend Part B of the Title XVIII of the Social Security Act to apply deemed enrollment to residents of Puerto Rico and to provide a special enrollment period and a reduction in the late enrollment penalties for certain residents of Puerto Rico; SCHUMER; to the Committee on Finance, Feb. 14.

S. 325 (MILITARY HEALTH), to amend Title 38, United States Code, to increase the maximum age for children eligible for medical care under the CHAMPVA program, and for other purposes; TESTER; to the Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, Feb. 14.

S. 328 (MEDICARE), to amend Title XVIII of the Social Security Act to allow certain critical access hospitals and sole community hospitals to use interactive telecommunications systems to satisfy requirements with respect to having a physician available to stabilize an individual with an emergency medical condition under Medicare; THUNE; to the Committee on Finance, Feb. 14.

S. 330 (ORGAN TRANSPLANTATION), to amend the Public Health Service Act to establish safeguards and standards of quality for research and transplantation of organs infected with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV); BOXER; to the Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions, Feb. 14.

S. 333 (PHARMACIES), to establish certain duties for pharmacies to ensure provision of Food and Drug Administration-approved contraception, and for other purposes; LAUTENBERG; to the Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions, Feb. 14.

S. 348 (PRESCRIPTION DRUGS), to provide for increased federal oversight of prescription opioid treatment and assistance to states in reducing opioid abuse, diversion, and deaths; ROCKEFELLER; to the Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions, Feb. 14.

S. 351 (REFORM), to repeal the provisions of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of providing for the Independent Payment Advisory Board; CORNYN; to the Committee on Finance, Feb. 14.



December 31, 1969: | Page 1 Page 2 Page 3 Page 4

SERVICES




BRIEFING ARCHIVE


 -  2018