Week in Washington: Recess

Week in Washington is brought to you by Michael Cohen, PhD. Tune in each week to read the latest on healthcare policy and get a glimpse of what’s on the horizon.

Week in Washington: Recess    



While a few Senate committees are still working, most of Congress is on recess.  The final drug pricing/Medicare Part D that passed was largely unchanged from initial reports. A good summary of the final package can be found here. As mentioned previously, no action will occur at least until September, potentially until October.


The Administration released two potentially major regulations this week 

Transparency:  The Administration proposed to require hospitals to post payer –specific negotiated rates for at least 300 shoppable services in a machine readable format. There was no proposed date by which hospitals would need to comply. The proposal has a 60 day comment period (i.e., final rule no earlier than early 2020). Major industry stakeholders have expressed opposition and some have threatened legal action.

Drug Importation: The Administration also announced that they would be releasing a regulation allowing drug importation from Canada. Several states (Florida/Vermont) have expressed interest in being allowed to do so. There are a number of significant hurdles in enacting this policy, as described here, so the expectation is this would not have an impact for at least several years. 


Florida Medicaid: Politico reported that HHS’ inspector general could require Florida to repay the Federal government $436 million in Medicaid funds that were improperly paid to a Florida hospital. Jackson Memorial, the country’s largest hospital, could be required to pay back some of the funds.  

CO/ND reinsurance approved: Add Colorado and North Dakota to the growing list of states that have approved 1332 reinsurance programs. Both states received approval from HHS/Treasury this week.  Federal funds to be given to the state will be calculated in the fall.

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