House and Senate propose education bills


A July 7, 2015 Huffington Post article reported that the 2002 No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB), which expired in 2007, “may finally be on its way to becoming fully defunct.” On July 8, the U.S House of Representatives passed a partisan bill to overhaul NCLB and the Senate has begun debate of its own version. [More]


U.S. Supreme Court to hear case next term concerning control of health care data


On Monday, June 29, 2015, the U. S. Supreme Court agreed to hear a case, Gobelle v. Liberty Mutual Insurance Company, in the Court’s next term, as to whether a self-funded insurer should have to turn over certain health related information to the state of Vermont.  [More]


Kaiser report estimates 4.4 percent increase in Exchange premiums for 2016


The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation (Kaiser) has released a June 2015 report entitled, “Analysis of 2016 Premium Changes and Insurer Participation in the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA’s) Health Insurance Marketplaces.”  Kaiser’s report shows that insurer participation in health insurance exchanges (Exchanges) is continuing to grow and that competition among insurers may be helping to contain premiums to about a 4.4 percent increase on average for 2016.  [More]


U.S. Supreme Court upholds Affordable Care Act in KING v. BURWELL by 6 to 3 vote


On Thursday, June 25, 2015, the U. S. Supreme Court by a 6 to 3 vote upheld the federal government’s interpretation (i.e., the regulation of the Internal Revenue Service) of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) that the subsidies awarded under provisions of the ACA could be provided regardless of whether the states granting the subsidies had a state health benefits exchange or a federal exchange operating therein. [More]


Child’s statements to teachers about abuse are allowable as evidence


A June 18, 2015 Associated Press article reported that the U.S. Supreme Court ruled unanimously that a child’s statements to teachers about possible abuse can be used as evidence in court, even if the child does not testify. A man convicted of beating a 3-year old child appealed the conviction, arguing that his constitutional right to cross-examine his accuser was violated; the child accuser was deemed incompetent to testify. [More]

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CMS has paid out about $1.3 billion to settle Medicare appeals claims


On June 11, 2015, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced that the agency has settled Medicare appeals claims with more than 1900 hospitals. CMS paid out approximately $1.3 billion pursuant to a settlement policy announced in August 2014 to help reduce a backlog of patient status claim denials pending in the appeals process. [More]

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Categories:Health and Human Services


HHS approves three additional state-based Exchanges


The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) notified the Governors of Arkansas, Delaware, and Pennsylvania on June 15, 2015 that HHS has conditionally approved the establishment of state-based health insurance exchanges (Exchanges) by those states. The conditional approvals for Delaware and Pennsylvania are for state-based individual and small business Exchanges in 2016. The conditional approval for Arkansas is for a state-based small business Exchange in 2016 and an individual Exchange in 2017. [More]


Florida legislature reaches agreement on hospital funding for one year


Florida legislators agreed to end a conflict about funding for hospitals for one year by increasing Medicaid reimbursement rates for hospitals. The Low Income Pool program (LIP) funded by a section 1115 project was scheduled to end June 30, but the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) did agree to continue the program at a reduced funding level from $2.2 billion to $1 billion for one year and $600 million thereafter. [More]

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Categories:Health and Human Services


NAEP Tests Will Assess Noncognitive Factors


A June 9, 2015 Education Week article reported that the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) will include assessment of noncognitive factors in its annual student tests beginning in 2017. The NAEP will use a background survey to collect data on noncognitive factors in five core areas: grit, desire for learning, school climate, technology use, and socioeconomic status. [More]


CMS Finalizes New Medicare ACO Rules


The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) published final rules in the June 9, 2015 Federal Register on accountable care organizations (ACOs) participating in the Medicare Shared Savings Program (MSSP) under section 3022 of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Medicare providers and suppliers that participate in a qualifying ACO under the MSSP receive traditional Medicare Part A and Part B fee-for-service payments but the ACO has an opportunity to earn “shared savings” bonus payments if it achieves MSSP savings targets and quality benchmarks. [More]