Remaining PACHA Members Dismissed

The Trump Administration has fired the remaining members of the Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/ AIDS (PACHA). A significant number of PACHA members resigned from the council last year in protest of the Administration’s lack of strategy to address HIV/AIDS and its support for repeal of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The remaining 10 council members were informed that their appointments were terminated on December 29. The PACHA provides the White House with recommendations on how to effectively implement the Updated National HIV/AIDS Strategy, as well as monitor the Strategy’s implementation. The White House has not indicated when it will make new appointments to the council. However, a call for nominations was published in the Federal Register on December 1, 2017 and the deadline for submission was January 2, 2018.

Obamacare Enrollment Exceeds Expectations

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) announced that nearly nine million people enrolled in the federal Obamacare exchanges this year. These enrollment figures are viewed as a resounding success by supporters of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Last year, 9.2 million people signed up for coverage during an open enrollment period that was twice as long.

OMB Reviewing DME Payment Rates Rule

The Office of Management and Budget is in the process of reviewing rules that would increase the Medicare payment rate for some durable medical equipment (DME) suppliers in some areas as well as change the way the rates are set. Suppliers have argued that the current rates for items like oxygen equipment and wheelchairs are too low to make a profit.

Upcoming Congressional Hearings and Meetings

Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee hearing “The Opioid Crisis: An Examination of How We Got Here and How We Move Forward;” 10:00 a.m., 430 Dirksen Bldg.; January 9

Senate Finance Committee hearing to consider the anticipated nomination of Alex Michael Azar II, of Indiana, to be Secretary of Health and Human Services; 10:00 a.m., 215 Dirksen Bldg.; January 9

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