Midweek update

Another week, another massive government regulation concerning the Affordable Care Act. Today, according to Kaiser Health News, HHS proposed a rule aimed at forcing healthier people into the marketplace plans. “Simultaneously, the government announced refinements to the methods by which it gauges financial risk of insurance populations. It plans to begin factoring in people who held plans for part of the year and also include prescription drug use. The government will take those costs into account when the government redistributes money from insurers with people who tend to be sicker to plans filled with healthier people.”  The law simply is too complicated.

Stat reports on Vermont’s passage of a law requiring pharmaceutical manufacturers to support price hikes.  The FEHBlog is not a believer in government price controls. He has more confidence in the efforts of the private sector Campaign for Sustainable Rx Pricing to promote market based reforms. “The Campaign recommends promoting more competition in the prescription drug market and advises providing the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) with additional resources so it can approve generic drugs more quickly – especially in cases where an expensive drug has no alternative on the market.CSRxP also believes it should be easier to bring a drug to market and exclusivity protections should only be used for new, innovative products. Additionally, the group recommends that patients have access to more information about how different medications compare in efficacy to help bring prices down and empower patients to pay for what works.” Makes sense to the FEHBlog.

Closing tidbits —

  • Joe Davidson of the Washington Post interviews OPM’s acting Director Beth Cobert about the one year anniversary of the OPM data breach announcement. 
  • AMA President Steven Stack makes reasonable suggestions on how to better measure electronic health record interoperability per Healthcare IT News. “Instead of using data exchange as the metric for measuring interoperability, Stack urges CMS to focus on usefulness, timeliness, correctness and completeness of data, as well as the ease and cost of information access.” Of course, as Health Data Management points out, the lack of interoperability, which can be laid at HHS’s feet in the FEHBlog’s opinion, “continues to bedevil” the healthcare industry. 
  • Ambulatory healthcare providers give good marks to Medicare, Tricare, and major commercial carriers according to Fierce Health Payer