Mid week update

The omnibus appropriations and tax extenders bills are moving forward in Congress. The package does include the two year delay in the effective date of the ACA’s 40% excise tax on high cost employer sponsored coverage (from 2018 to 2020).  The first vote is expected in the House of Representatives on Friday.

Govexec.com reports that the package does not upset the 1.3% raise that federal employee and military service members expect for 2016.

The package also includes cybersecurity provisions intended to advance the following policies

  • Promote responsible and voluntary information about cyberthreats
  • Protect privacy by requiring companies to remove any personally identifiable information before sharing
  • Provide liability protections to companies that share information in a responsible manner
  • Establish the Department of Homeland security as the sole portal for companies to share information with the federal government, stopping unnecessary confusion.
While on that topic, the FEHBlog notes that FCW.com’s interview with OPM’s cybersecurity advisor Clifton Triplett is worth reading.  
Also in the fun reading category, the FEHBlog places this Healthcare Dive list of 2016 predictions for healthcare payers.  
Finally, here are several prescription drug benefit oriented tidbits:
  • CVS has closed on its acquistion of Target’s pharmacies and clinics for $1.9 billion.
  • Drug Channels reports on a recently announced deal between Walgreen’s Pharmacies and the generic drug distributor Valeant Pharmaceuticals. “Patients and payers will pay lower prices for Valeant products that are filled at Walgreens or other to-be-named-later independent pharmacies.”
  • Modern Healthcare interviews Pfizer’s group president for vaccines, oncology drugs, and consumer products. That’s quite a product mix and the Pfizer exec explains the combination and Pfizer’s perspective on obtaining afforable health care.