U.S. Supreme Court Agrees to Review Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals Decision Allowing Providers to Challenge Medicaid Reimbursement Rates


On October 2, 2014, the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to consider whether the Supremacy Clause of the U.S. Constitution grants Medicaid providers a private right of action to challenge a state’s reimbursement rates. The Supremacy Clause of the U.S. Constitution provides that when a federal law and a state law deal with the same subject matter, the federal law will prevail. [More]

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Categories:Health and Human Services


OCR Provides Guidance on Educational Resource Equity


In an October 1, 2014 Dear Colleague letter, the U.S. Department of Education (ED) Office of Civil Rights (OCR) provided guidance to states, school districts, and schools to ensure that all students have equal access to educational resources. According to an ED press statement, the guidance is intended to provide state and local school officials with information on educational resource requirements, how OCR investigates resource disparities, and what the officials can do to meet their obligations under federal law. [More]

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OK Federal District Court Judge Issues Adverse Decision in ACA Tax Credit Controversy


On September 30, 2014, Judge Ronald White of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Oklahoma ruled that language in the Affordable Care Act (ACA) rendered invalid an IRS regulation that authorizes tax credits in federal exchanges as well as state exchanges. [More]

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Categories:Health and Human Services


HHS-OIG Issues First Report on Exchange Data Security


The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Office of the Inspector General (OIG) issued on September 22, 2014 the first in what will be a series of reports on information security controls in federal and state-based health insurance Exchanges under the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The OIG reviews are based on HHS regulations on administrative, technical, and physical safeguards to safeguard the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of personally identifiable information (PII) obtained and used by Exchanges. The OIG reviews also apply standards developed by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) which HHS has adopted in instructions to Exchanges about steps necessary to protect PII. [More]

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Categories:Health and Human Services


GAO Confirms That Most of the Largest Health Insurers Are Participating in Most Exchanges


The Government Accountability Office (GAO) issued a report on September 29, 2014 which offers a remarkable comparative overview of the individual and small-group health insurance markets in each state. Most but not all of the largest issuers of health coverage in 2012 in those markets participated in health insurance Exchanges under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) in 2014. [More]

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Congress Passes Preventing Sex Trafficking and Strengthening Families Legislation


The Senate has passed H.R. 4980, a compilation of many versions and iterations of legislation that was introduced in the House and the Senate. The current version was passed by the House of Representatives on July 23, 2014 by unanimous voice vote, but failed to pass the Senate on the following day. In late night negotiations on September 18, the Senate was able to pass the measure by unanimous support. [More]


Report Shows ACA Impact on Uncompensated Care


The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation (ASPE) released a report on September 24, 2014 showing the impact of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) on hospitals’ uncompensated care (bad debts and charity care for the uninsured). The report offers the first evidence that 2014 enrollments in qualified health plans (QHPs) through health insurance Exchanges along with Medicaid expansions in 25 states and the District of Columbia are starting to reverse the growth in the cost of uncompensated care. [More]


More Insurers Joining Exchanges in 2015


The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation (ASPE) announced on September 23, 2014 a net 25 percent increase in the number of private health insurers in Exchanges in 2015. Preliminary data on 44 states show that 248 health insurers will offer qualified health plans (QHPs) through 36 federal Exchanges in 2015, versus 191 in those 36 Exchanges in 2014; 67 health insurers will offer QHPs in 8 state-based Exchanges in 2015, versus 61 in those Exchanges in 2014. [More]

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Brookings Institution Issues Report on Geographic Variations in Health Care Expenditures


The Brookings Institution issued a report on September 11, 2014 entitled, “Why the Geographic Variation in Health Care Spending Can’t Tell Us Much about the Efficiency or Quality of Our Health Care System.” Brookings has used state-wide statistics and state-wide per capita health care expenditure data to run econometric models which show that per capita variations in health spending among states (after adjustments for differences among states in price levels) might be almost fully accounted for by cross-state variations in population health statistics and demographic statistics. [More]


ED Proposes Revisions to SIG Requirements


On September 8, 2014, the U.S. Department of Education (ED) published in the Federal Register proposed revisions to the requirements for the School Improvement Grants (SIG) program. The SIG program was initiated in 2010 to provide grants to state education agencies (SEA) to support rigorous interventions to turn around the states’ persistently lowest-achieving schools. SEAs that receive SIG grants competitively sub-grant the funds to local education agencies (LEA), giving priority to the lowest-achieving LEAs with the greatest need for the funds and the strongest commitment to substantially increasing the achievement of their students. [More]

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