Weekend Update

Congress is back in town this week.  The Hill reports that “hopes are dimming” for an expansion of the law that holds Medicare beneficiaries harmless against Medicare Part B premium and deductible increases when as will be the case next year there is no Social Security COLA.  NARFE, among other organizations, is advocating for an expansion of the hold harmless protection because federal annuitants whose Medicare premiums are withheld from the CSRS benefit checks fall outside of it. The protection only applies to Medicare beneficiaries whose premiums are withheld from Social Security checks. Goofy, but it’s the law.

Healthcare Data Management is taking a “so far so good” approach to ICD-10 implementation.  The ICD-10 coding set went into effect on October 1. Given billing cycles, it may be premature for ICD-10 advocates to take a victory lap yet. The FEHBlog thinks that the ICD-10 effort has been a waste of money but fortunately at this point no train wreck has occurred.  The FEHBlog is attending a WEDI conference next week in lovely Reston Virginia. He will keep an ear open on this issue.

Health Care Dive identifies the top 13 healthcare CEOs drawn from a Harvard Business School study.  Number 5 on the list is the CEO of Gilead Sciences, the piratical company that holds the patent on the miraculous Hepatitis C drug Harvoni.  The Washington Post reports today that Medicare spending on Harvoni continues to skyrocket.

The Post also reports that two more health insurance co-ops bit the dust on Friday.  “Nearly a third of the innovative health insurance plans created under the Affordable Care Act will be out of business at the end of 2015, following announcements Friday that plans in Oregon and Colorado are folding.” You cannot solve a problem by throwing money at it. In this case, money was being thrown a problem that did not exist.

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