Weekend Update

Happy Father’s Day. The House and Senate are in session this week, and the U.S. Supreme Court has seventeen more decisions to announce before the justices can go on their summer vacations.

On Friday, OPM released an FEHBP carrier letter explaining that the agency was removing the Program wide exclusion of gender reassignment treatment coverage costs for 2015. This action comes on the heels of a recent Medicare coverage decision that was reported in the Washington Post. Like the Medicare decision, the OPM carrier letter allows carriers to make their own coverage decisions. Advocate perspectives are presented in this Washington Blade article.

The Federal Times offers a U.S. map displaying states winners and losers in federal employment over the past three years during which the federal government shedded 60,000 jobs.

The New York Times included a couple of interesting health care mergers and acquisition articles this morning. The more interesting of the two concerned Allergan the company that sells Botox. The article explains how Allergan’s CEO built the brand. On the M&A front, the article explains that

Since April, Allergan has been trying to fend off a takeover attempt by Valeant Pharmaceuticals International, a serial acquirer of specialty drug makers. Valeant, based near Montreal, has partnered with William A. Ackman, an investor whose hedge fund holds about a 10 percent stake in Allergan. If their takeover bid is successful, Valeant intends to increase earnings by paying taxes in Valeant’s home country, Canada, where corporate rates are significantly lower. It also plans to cut jobs and Allergan’s research budget.

The other article concerns Medtronic, a medical device company, which is reportedly close to acquiring a competitor Covedien for over $45 billion.

The potential acquisition, which would most likely be structured as a so-called inversion, would also relocate Medtronic to Covidien’s home in Ireland. Such a move would lower Medtronic’s corporate taxes since Ireland’s tax rate is substantially lower than the one in the United States.

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