Happy Lincoln’s Birthday

Yes, Abraham Lincoln was born today in 1809. The FEHBlog recently watched an interesting PBS documentary on the last President to have grown up in a log cabin, James Garfield. How many Presidents other than Lincoln, William Henry Harrison, and Garfield grew up in a log cabin?

On the good news front, Drug Channels reports that the Food and Drug Administration is working through its backlog of generic drug approval applications which means that manufacturers and wholesalers are losing pricing leverage. “The unprecedented generic inflation of 2013-2014 is fading.”

Modern Healthcare reports that

Embedded within President Barack Obama’s 2017 budget for HHS (PDF) is a provision to “eliminate surprise out-of-network healthcare charges for privately insured patients.” Details are scant, but the administration would try to solve the problem by requiring physicians who “regularly provide services in hospitals” to accept in-network rates, even if they aren’t in the insurer’s network. Hospitals would also have to “take reasonable steps” to ensure patients see in-network physicians.

This idea could attract bipartisan approval.

The IRS provides some guidance / “Tax Tips” on the array of new ACA-related tax forms that taxpayers will be receiving this calendar quarter. Worth sharing.

Modern Medicine reports on the five forces driving the expansion of telemedicine in 2016.  “The global telemedicine market is expected to expand at a compound annual growth rate of 14.3% over the next five years, eventually reaching $36.2 billion, compared to $14.3 billion in 2014.” Whoa nelly!

On the puzzling front, the Wall Street Journal reports that “The healthier you are, the more money you need to save for health care in retirement.”  The underlying reason is that healthier people incur more health expenses because they live longer lives. Nevertheless, it’s an interesting story.

Finally on the bad news front, Healthcare Dive reports why achieving interoperability in electronic medical records is a stretch goal. It certainly frosts the FEHBlog’s cake that HHS did not build interoperability into its EMR standards when it started throwing around $31 billion in funding.