CMS to Propose Health Plan Quality Measures

In anticipation of issuing future final regulations, CMS provided notice seeking comments on the table of proposed quality rating system measures that qualified health plans will be required to report under the PPACA. Separate multiple measures are proposed for family/adult sets and child-only sets.

Congressional Republicans Take PPACA Opposition to a Higher Court

In another attempt to stymie the PPACA, forty House Republicans filed an amicus brief with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in support of an appeal filed by the Pacific Legal Foundation which contends that the PPACA is unconstitutional because the Senate first passed the provisions of the law using a House-numbered bill that was not a tax bill. Because the Supreme Court held that the individual mandate penalty is a “tax”, they argue that this violates the Origination Clause of the Constitution which requires tax bills to be first passed in the House. In addition, private secular and non-profit entities continue to strike at the PPACA’s contraceptive and other preventive benefit mandates with the latest coming in the form of a ruling from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit that the law’s enforcement of the mandate can be challenged on religious grounds under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act.


At a House Energy and Commerce Health Subcommittee hearing, the FDA testified that the agency has been successful in reducing by about 15% the approval time for new medical devices and other priorities under the Food and Drug Safety and Innovation Act of 2012 (FDASIA). The agency also has added about 300 full-time equivalent positions to better meet agency goals, despite the government shutdown.

CMS Virtual Research Data Center

CMS announced the creation of a so-called Virtual Research Data Center that the agency says will give medical researchers a more affordable basis to access Medicare and Medicaid data sets. Of note, CMS said that the new center will safeguard against the breach of sensitive individually identifiable information about program beneficiaries.

Upcoming Health-Related Hearings and Markups

House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health: hearing titled “Examining Federal Regulation of Mobile Medical Apps and Other Health Software;” 10:00 a.m., 2322 Rayburn; Nov. 19.

House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations: hearing titled “Security of HealthCare.gov;” 10:15 a.m., 2123 Rayburn; Nov. 19.

House Science, Space and Technology Committee: hearing titled “Is My Data on Healthcare.gov Secure?” 10 a.m., 2318 Rayburn; Nov. 19.

House Energy and Commerce Committee Subcommittee on Health: hearing titled “Examining Public Health Legislation to Help Local Communities;” the hearing will showcase public health bill that will provide members an opportunity to examine policies for the treatment of traumatic brain injuries, newborn health screening, prevention and treatment of tick-borne illness, and preventing sudden infant death, in addition to a proposal to reauthorize the Poison Control Centers and a proposal to reauthorize the National All Schedules Prescription Electronic Reporting (NASPER) program; 2:00 p.m., 2123 Rayburn; Nov. 20.

House Education and the Workforce Subcommittee on Workforce Protections: will hold a hearing titled “Redefining Companion Care: Jeopardizing Access to Affordable Care for Seniors and Individuals with Disabilities.” 10 a.m., 2175 Rayburn; Nov. 20.

House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health, Global Human Rights and International Organizations: will hold a hearing titled “The Global Challenge of Alzheimer’s: The G-8 Dementia Summit and Beyond.” 10:15 a.m., 2172 Rayburn; Nov. 21.

Postponed--Senate Finance Committee: hearing titled “Transforming Medicare Post-Acute Care: Issues and Options.”

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