Public Policy Weekly Clips: February 9, 2016

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Every Tuesday NCQA gives a rundown of the best national, state and private sector health care articles from the week. Here are our picks for today’s Public Policy Weekly Clips:

National:

12.7M people signed up for ACA coverage this year, up from 11.7M in 2015.

Aetna’s CEO says the insurer has “serious concerns about the sustainability” of ACA Marketplace plans.

SAMHSA wants to ease substance abuse privacy rules, but NAMD says they need to do more.

Obama budget includes $1B for cancer research, $1B for opioid abuse, & Cadillac tax only for “gold-level” plans.

60 drugs have increased in price by 200% or more since December 2014, while another 20 have at least quadrupled.

A congressional hearing revealed bipartisan frustration over increasing drug prices.

Experts expect an increase in Medicare Advantage regulation & oversight as Obama’s term ends.

CMS will let clinicians verify the need for Medicaid home health care via telehealth.

The bipartisan CONNECT for Health Act would expand Medicare telehealth.

Anthem is telling enrollees to visit virtual doctors, therapists & psychologists.

AHRQ updated its CAHPS ambulatory care improvement guide.

CDC updated its recommended immunization schedules for both children & adults.

FDA promises more thorough scrutiny for any new opioids to fight epidemic of abuse.

Potentially preventable hospital stays dropped 19% from 2005-2012 vs. 8% for overall hospital stays.

Nearly a third of colonoscopy patients may have unneeded pre-screening visits.

Limits on medical residents work hours may not affect patient outcomes or resident satisfaction.

Eating seafood, but not fish oil supplements, is correlated with lesser Alzheimer’s pathology.

Brain scans can ID children at high risk of depression before symptoms begin

New MACPAC chair Sara Rosenbaum promised to stay off amicus briefs that may be conflicts of interest.

State:

California Exchange head Peter Lee blasted UnitedHealth for blaming the ACA for its $1B losses.

Californians will vote on whether to cap state drug payments at Veterans Affairs rates.

DC passed a bill requiring LGBT cultural competency training for health care workers.

Massachusetts is suing Gilead, alleging that its pricing for a hepatitis C drug constitutes an unfair trade practice.

Texas is the only state that does not require employers to provide workplace-injury coverage.

Vermont is asking CMS’ approval for global budgeting that sets targets for almost all services.

West Virginia has announced the 10 HEDIS measures they will use to determine financial withholding and recoupment under their Medicaid Managed Care program.

Private:

Twenty major companies are banding together to attempt to hold down the cost of health-care benefits.

Private exchanges & self-insured employers do better at engaging employees in DM programs.

Health benefits are no longer driving retirement decisions.

American Heart Association & IBM Watson will develop employer solution for cardiovascular diseases.

Private exchanges may see modest growth for 2016 because of the 2-year delay of Cadillac tax.

Paul Cotton
Paul Cotton is the Director of Federal Affairs. He works on health reform and other initiatives to improve health care quality. Previously he was an AARP Senior Legislative Representative lobbying Congress and the Administration on Medicare, Medicaid, CHIP, health reform and quality improvement issues. He has also worked at the Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services as Hearings & Policy Presentation Director in the Office of Legislation, and as a journalist for publications including the Journal of the American Medical Association.

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