|What We're Reading|
If you’re looking for a mental break from the 500 pages of reading that the Administration handed to us this week, we recommend checking out:|
- The Senate is expected to begin markup hearings on the prescription drug bills later this month, and a comprehensive package is expected to be introduced as soon as next month.
- The conservative-leaning Heritage Foundation released a report on the implications of potential policy changes to prescription drug costs.
- The effort to address surprise billing could have a major unintended consequence, according to the Congressional Budget Office, which projects even more hospital consolidation if such legislation would be enacted.
- Kaiser Health News investigates how air ambulance balance-billing has been escaping the grasp of legislators who are otherwise seeking to rein in balance-billing elsewhere in healthcare.
- CMS Administrator Seema Verma wrote a 31-page memo last year critical of many of the Administration’s regulatory efforts, including the proposal to end auto-reenrollment in the ACA marketplaces and to end silver loading. Neither of these proposals were ultimately implemented but remain under consideration for future policymaking.
- House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and the Congressional Progressive Caucus worked out some of their differences in the forthcoming prescription drug bill, including having Medicare directly negotiate the prices of 250 drugs annually.
- The Maine Senate voted this week to allow for the direct importation of prescription drugs from Canada. It is modeled after a similar law passed by Vermont last year, though not yet implemented.
- Oklahoma may add itself to the list of deep-Republican states opting to expand their Medicaid program if a campaign to put the question to voters proves successful.
- A survey by the CDC found that 82% of Americans age 65-74 rated their health as excellent, very good or good, while only four percent rated their health as poor. This is despite of the fact that 60% of older Americans suffer from chronic conditions.
- Maine has become the eighth state to legalize assisted suicide for terminally ill patients. It joins California, Colorado, the District of Columbia, Hawaii, New Jersey, Oregon, Vermont and Washington, in addition to Montana, which doesn’t have an official law in place but refers to a State Supreme Court ruling allowing the practice.
- If you want to get the benefits of being outdoors, science now says you should get out at least 120 minutes a week.
- If you’d prefer to get your exercise in at the gym, remember to bring your shower shoes with you because gym locker rooms can be germ factories.
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