TGIF

Well, it’s finally Super Bowl weekend, the great American holiday. It should be a good game.

Here’s the Week in Congress’s report on this week’s activities on Capitol Hill.  As the FEHBlog mentioned the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing on IT security practices, here are links to the Committee’s and FedScoop’s accounts of that hearing.  

The FEHBlog noticed this afternoon that the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee has scheduled a hearing on its bipartisan Postal reform bill (H.R. 756) for next Tuesday February 7 at 10 am. The FEHBlog will check out that hearing.

Prof. Timothy Jost reports in the Health Affairs blog that “Congressman Darrell Issa (R-CA) threw another health reform plan into the mix, his “Access to Insurance for All Americans Act.” His plan would allow anyone to enroll in Federal Employee Health Benefit Program (FEHB) health plans.”  Prof. Jost pooh poohs the intiative because

The multi-state plan has not been a success. At this point it is not yet nationwide and includes only Blue plans which offer products pretty much indistinguishable from the products they otherwise offer in the marketplace. None of the FEHB insurers other than the Blue plans signed on.  Conscripting FEHB plans to enroll the uninsured continues to be a theoretical option for health care reform, but an attempt to do so would have to overcome the political and practical obstacles that undermined the ACA multi-state plan program.

The multi state plan has not been a success because like the ACA as a whole it is needlessly complicated. In contrast to the FEHBP which permits nationwide and regional plans, the MSP’s participants must operate as qualified health plans in the ACA marketplace.  The multi state plans are subject to both OPM / federal  and state regulation. That’s no picnic. In contrast, FEHB plans are only subject to federal regulation. Simplify it for heaven sake.

Forbes Magazine reports that United Health, Aetna, and other large health insurance carriers are tremendous progress in shifting their networks from fee for service to value based reimbursement. Bravo.

The Trump Administration took its first HIPAA scalp this week.  Children’s Hospital of Dallas agreed to pay a $3.2 million civil penalty based on the government’s allegations that the provider violated numerous HIPAA Security Rule provisions.

The Drug Channels blog provides a 2016 list of top U.S. pharmacies. Speaking of pharmacies, earlier this week, the New York Times reported that “Concerns about regulatory approval have weighed on Walgreens Boots Alliance’s bid to buy a top drugstore rival, Rite Aid, as the two cut the price of the deal while pushing back the expected closing date by six months.”

 

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