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Healthcare Today: July 28, 2023


Healthcare Today | July 28, 2023

House Ways and Means Committee Approves Healthcare Price Transparency Legislation. On Wednesday, the House Ways and Means Committee voted 25-16 to pass H.R.4822, the Health Care Price Transparency Act of 2023, including proposals to promote price transparency among hospitals, health plans, and PBMs; require electronic prior authorizations from Medicare Advantage plans; and create site-neutral payment policies. H.R.3284, the Providers and Payers COMPETE Act, was passed 23-17.

Senate Finance Committee Passes Pharmacy Benefit Manager Reform Legislation. On Wednesday, the Senate Finance Committee held a markup to consider the Modernizing and Ensuring PBM Accountability (MEPA) Act. The legislation would increase transparency and reporting requirements, de-link PBM compensation from drug prices, and ban spread pricing practices in Medicaid. The legislation passed out of committee with a vote of 26-1.

Senate Appropriations Committee Advances Labor-HHS Spending Bill. On Thursday, the Senate Appropriations Committee advanced a $224.4 billion spending bill with a vote of 26-2. The legislation would give $117 billion to HHS in FY 2024, differing from House appropriators’ plan to give HHS $103.3 billion. House appropriators proposed cutting NIH funding by $3.8 billion, but the Senate package would boost it by $943 million. The bill would also provide $1.5 billion for Advanced Research Projects Agency for Health (ARPA-H), retain funding for the Teen Pregnancy Prevention Program, and boost funding for the Ending HIV Epidemic Initiative.

Joint Economic Committee Holds Hearing on the Economic Impact of Diabetes. On Thursday, the Joint Economic Committee held a hearing to identify the direct and indirect costs of diabetes on the economy and find bipartisan solutions to address the upstream causes, the role of health and nutrition programs in prevention and treatment, and the role of pharmaceutical interventions.

Senate HELP Markup on Primary Care and Health Workforce Expansion Postponed. The Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee markup on the Primary Care and Health Workforce Expansion Act has been postponed until September.

Biden Administration Proposes Mental Health Parity Regulations. On Tuesday, the Biden Administration announced an expansion of the 2008 Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act (MHPAEA), which called for mental health benefits to be covered at the same level as physical health benefits. The proposed rule would require health plans to make changes when they are providing inadequate access to mental health care, establish when health plans can and cannot use prior authorization, and close existing loopholes by requiring additional insurers to comply with MHPAEA. The public comment period is open for 60 days.

Biden Administration Announces ARPA-H Precision Surgical Interventions Program. On Thursday, the Biden Administration announced the Precision Surgical Interventions (PSI) program as part of the Cancer Moonshot. The initiative seeks to improve patient outcomes by reducing repeat surgeries, difficult recoveries, and cancer recurrence. The ARPA-H program will solicit proposals for new devices and technology that could help surgeons more easily distinguish between cancerous cells and healthy tissue during surgery. A Proposers Day for interested research teams is scheduled for September 7, 2023.

MedPAC Publishes Annual Data Book. The Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (MedPAC) released its annual data book, “HealthCare Spending and the Medicare Program.” The data book provides information on national healthcare and Medicare spending, Medicare beneficiary demographics, and data on the quality of care in the Medicare program. Additionally, it examines provider settings and presents data on Medicare spending, access to care, and Medicare profit margins.

CMS Finalizes Inpatient Rehabilitation Facility Prospective Payment System Rule. On Thursday, CMS issued a final rule to update Medicare payment policies and rates under the Inpatient Rehabilitation Facility (IRF) Prospective Payment System (PPS) and the IRF Quality Reporting Program (QRP) FY 2024. CMS estimates that overall IRF payments for FY 2024 will increase by 4% from FY 2023. Additionally, CMS finalized policies to allow hospitals to open new IRF units at any time during a cost reporting period, provided certain requirements are met.

Healthcare Today will not be published over the August recess.

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