Thursday’s tidbits

Politico reports that the Senate tonight failed to break a filibuster over the Tax Extenders bill which now includes a 2.2% increase in Medicare Part B reimbursements to doctors through November and does not include an extension of the COBRA/TCC subsidy program which expired on May 31, 2010.  This means that CMS contractors will begin to process Medicare Part B physician claims incurred in June with the statutorily prescribed 21.3% cut.  With respect to the COBRA/TCC subsidy program, Business Insurance reports that

An amendment to the tax bill proposed by Sen. Robert Casey, D-Pa., would extend the subsidy to employees laid off through Nov. 30. But the Senate has not yet taken up the Casey amendment, which faces an uphill battle to win approval as Senate Democratic leaders look for ways to reduce the cost of the overall bill.

There’s a good chance that the COBRA/TCC subsidy program is over.

I learned from a Wall Street Journal article that the feud between CVS Caremark and Walgreen’s Pharmacies continues.

The two pharmacy giants have been publicly quarreling for more than a week, following Walgreen’s announcement last Monday it was pulling its 7,500 stores from CVS Caremark’s network of 64,000 pharmacies beginning next year. But two days later CVS Caremark said it planned to drop Walgreen by July 9.

If no compromise between the two is struck before then, most CVS Caremark patients would be blocked from filling their prescriptions at Walgreen’s and its recently acquired Duane Reade stores. Medicare plans would be affected starting in January.

Don’t overlook this Bloomberg Businessweek article which reports on a RAND study which found that “Cuts in Medicare payments to doctors who administer outpatient chemotherapy drugs actually led to an increase in treatment rates among Medicare recipients.”