Weekend update

The House of Representatives is now out of session until after Labor Day. The Senate continues to meet for this week and then takes off until next month.  Here is a link to the Week in Congress with a description of last week’s action.

The White House, according to Federal News Radio, has withdrawn the nomination of retired Adm. Earl Gay to be OPM deputy director.  OPM has not had a deputy director for many years.

The New York Times reported yesterday that the White House now is considering low key retaliatory action against China for the OPM data breach. Bloomberg reported last week that

The hackers [“Deep Panda”] who stole data on tens of millions of U.S. insurance holders and government employees in recent months breached another big target at around the same time — United Airlines. United, the world’s second-largest airline, detected an incursion into its computer systems in May or early June, said several people familiar with the probe. According to three of these people, investigators working with the carrier have linked the attack to a group of China-backed hackers they say are behind several other large heists — including the theft of security-clearance records from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management and medical data from health insurer Anthem Inc.

On Friday, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services perhaps in celebration to Medicare’s 50th anniversary, issued a slew of provider pricing rules that take effect on October 1.  The most important from the perspective of the FEHBP is the final rule on Medicare Part A payments to inpatient hospitals.  FEHB plans pay secondary to a boatload of Medicare participating annuitants. FEHBP fee for service plans use the Medicare Part A prospective pricing system to pay claims on annuitants over 65 who don’t have Medicare Part A.  This is a diminishing cadre of federal annuitants who retired before 1984.

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