HHS Proposes Updates in Medicare Part B Payments


The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) published a proposed rule in the Federal Register on July 15, 2015 which would update Medicare Part B payment policies, including the Medicare physician fee schedule, for calendar year 2016. The proposed rule also outlines initial steps toward implementing the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015 (MACRA), which replaced Medicare’s Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) formula, enacted in 1997, with a ground-breaking Merit-based Incentive Payment System (MIPS), to be launched in 2019. [More]


HHS and USDA Issue Additional Guidance on Eligibility Integration


The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) issued a joint letter on July 20, 2015 to directors of state health and human services, state Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Programs, and health insurance Exchanges, about a limited exception to OMB A-87 cost allocation requirements for integrated eligibility systems serving multiple programs. [More]


Senate Passes a Bill to Overhaul NCLB


On July 16, 2015, the U.S. Senate passed a bipartisan bill by a vote of 81-17 to overhaul the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB). If enacted, the Every Child Achieves Act would significantly decrease the federal role in education and give states more flexibility. According to an Education Week article, the bill would continue to require NCLB’s annual reading and math testing, but eliminate the adequate yearly progress accountability system; allowing states to create their own systems. [More]


GAO Report Cites Medicaid Challenges


The U.S. Government Accountability Office issued a report to a health care subcommittee in the U.S. House of Representatives on July 8, 2015, entitled, “Medicaid: Overview of Key Issues Facing the Program.” Medicaid serves over 70 million persons and program costs now exceed $508 billion ($304 billion federal, $204 billion state funds in fiscal 2014). The GAO report addresses access to care, transparency and oversight, program integrity, and federal financing issues under the program. [More]

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Categories:Health and Human Services


HHS Proposes Medicare Home Health Value-Based Purchasing Program


The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) published a proposed rule in the Federal Register on July 10, 2015 which would update Medicare payment methods and rates under the home health prospective payment system, update home health quality reporting requirements, and launch the home health value-based purchasing (HH VBP) model beginning in January 2016. [More]


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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