House Lawmakers “Skeptical” Of Administration’s Proposed Cuts To Health Workforce And Rural Health Services.
Congressional Quarterly (4/12, Siddons, Subscription Publication) reports that House lawmakers mulling “the administration’s Health and Human Services Department budget request Thursday appeared skeptical of proposed cuts to programs that support the health workforce and rural health services.” The article says the Administration intends “to provide HRSA with $550 million in fiscal 2019 to address substance abuse, including $400 million to support community health centers and $150 million for opioid abuse in rural communities.” However, “to pay for that, the administration would eliminate a much larger amount meant to address similar needs, including $744 million from HRSA’s overall $1.2 billion health workforce budget and $80 million from $150 million for rural health programs.”
New Jersey To Introduce Bill To Protect Consumers From Surprise Out-Of-Network Medical Bills.
The Newark (NJ) Star-Ledger (4/12, Livio) reports that New Jersey is introducing legislation that would “protect thousands of New Jerseyans covered by state-regulated health plans from ‘balance-billing,’ or paying what an insurance company won’t,” because consumers unknowingly used out-of-network services. The article says that “too often, patients say they learned a doctor was not part of their insurance network after the bill arrived.” The bill will require hospitals to “post on their website the names of medical professionals they employ, their contact information and the insurance coverage they accept.”
New Jersey Legislature Approves Individual Mandate, Other Bills In Whirlwind Session.
The AP (4/12, Catalini) reports New Jersey’s Legislature staged a “whirlwind voting session on Thursday” to send to Gov. Phil Murphy’s (D) desk several bills within his “promised liberal agenda,” including imposing a state individual mandate for health insurance, automatic voter registration, and paid sick leave. The Democratic-led Assembly and Senate sessions were “the final chances for the chambers to pass bills until the Assembly meets again in late May” and the Senate reconvenes in June. The Legislature reinstated “the health care mandate that existed under the Affordable Care Act before the Republican-led Congress repealed it last year,” which would require “every resident to obtain health insurance or pay a fee of $695.”
Public Health and Private Healthcare Systems
WSJournal Analysis: With Ryan’s Departure, Entitlement Reform Unlikely.
The Wall Street Journal (4/12, Radnofsky, Timiraos, Subscription Publication) reports that with the departure of House Speaker Ryan, advocates for reforms to Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid will lose their strongest voice and with no one stepping forward to pick up the mantle, chances for major reform are slim in the immediate future.
CMS Policy Change Makes It Easier For Medicare Recipients With Implanted Cardiac Devices To Obtain MRI Scans.
Modern Healthcare (4/12, Dickson, Subscription Publication) reports “CMS has finalized a Medicare policy that makes it easier for patients with implanted cardiac devices to receive MRI scans.” The article says CMS is now “allowing imaging without requiring the so-called ‘coverage with evidence development.’” The piece adds that this is welcome “news given that some seniors were often not getting the scans they needed, according to Jason Launders, director of operations for the ECRI Institute’s health devices group.”
MedPage Today (4/12, Phend) also covers the story.
Rhode Island Unable To Apply For Federal Match On About $100 Million In Medicaid Payments.
The Providence (RI) Journal (4/12, Gregg) reports that “as a direct result of the $492-million UHIP debacle,” Rhode Island “has been unable to apply for a federal match on more than $100 million in Medicaid payments that the Raimondo administration advanced over the last year and a half to nursing homes and other long-term care providers,” according to House Oversight Committee Chairwoman Patricia Serpa, a Democrat. She said this was a top concern, observing, “We are bleeding this money out of the general fund.”
Virginia GOP Legislators At Odds Over Medicaid Expansion.
The Newport News (VA) Daily Press (4/12, Ress, Amin, Subscription Publication) reports that initial “steps on a path to end Virginia’s budget impasse started with procedural niceties and a long closed-door meeting of Senate Republicans upset by one senior colleague’s break with the caucus stand against Medicaid expansion.” However, “internal tensions over state Sen. Frank Wagner’s comments five days earlier that he could support expansion – just like the real work of compromise in the weeks to come – wouldn’t be public when the state Senate finally convened to begin a General Assembly special session on Wednesday.”
Mississippi Expects Thousands Of Low-Income Mothers To Lose Coverage Because Of Medicaid Work Requirements.
The Jackson (MS) Clarion Ledger (4/12, Wolfe) reports that some “5,000 Mississippians, mostly low-income mothers,” are expected “to fall off the Medicaid rolls every year for the next five years under the state’s proposed job training program.” The article says the Mississippi Division of Medicaid has submitted a waiver to impose work requirements on some recipients. Officials are awaiting CMS’ decision on the matter.
Also in the News
Poll Shows 51% Of Americans Advocate Single-Payer Healthcare.
Emily Guskin writes in the Washington Post (4/12) “The Fix” blog that as the Trump Administration continues its efforts to roll back the ACA “by giving more authority to states to regulate private insurance, a new poll finds a slight majority of Americans support a move in the opposite direction, with everyone getting health insurance from a national government-run program.” She says a Washington Post-Kaiser Family Foundation poll revealed that 51 percent “of Americans support a national health plan, also known as a single-payer plan, while 43 percent oppose it.” Data also show 74 percent of Democrats support single payer, while 80 percent of Republicans are opposed to it.
Price Of New Cancer Drugs Increased More Than Clinical Benefits Provided Between 2006 And 2015, Analysis Suggests.
Reuters (4/12, Harding) reports that while the cost of new cancer drugs more than quintupled between 2006 and 2015, the value received by patients and insurers declined, according to an analysis published in the Journal of Oncology Practice. The researchers found that while “monthly drug costs increased by 9 percent per year,” clinical benefit as measured by the American Society of Clinical Oncology’s Value Framework or the European Society of Medical Oncology’s Magnitude of Clinical Benefit Scale did not improve over the same period of time.
Scammers Already Attempting To Defraud Seniors Who Are Unaware CMS Is Sending Them New Medicare ID Cards.
The Deseret (UT) News (4/12, Collins) reports that CMS has started sending “out new ID cards to the 58 million Americans who benefit from Medicare,” however, “since many of the people who will receive them don’t know they’re coming or why, scammers are already gearing up to take advantage.” A poll conducted by AARP “shows as many as three-fourths of Americans 65 and older have no idea the cards are coming, so some individuals may be duped with claims that they’re supposed to pay a fee or provide personal information that will be used, instead, to defraud them.”