Yesterday, the Financial Services and General Government subcommittee of the House Appropriations Committee cleared the FY 2018 appropriations bill on the same topic. This is the bill that funds the FEHBP, OPM, etc. Here is a link to the Committee’s announcement of the bill. Federal New Radio reports on the subcommittee hearing which was held yesterday afternoon. The report highlights 

The House Appropriations Financial Services and General Government Subcommittee passed its 2018 appropriations bill through a voice vote Thursday afternoon. The draft does not offer an alternative to the president’s proposal of 1.9 percent raise.
Trump proposed a 2.1 percent pay raise for members of the military. The Senate agrees with the president’s proposal, but the House Armed Services Committee suggested a 2.4 percent raise for troops next year.

The bill contains the three traditional FEHBP-related appropriations provisions — an abortion coverage restriction (which is noted in the Committee announcement), a female contraception coverage mandate, and a prohibition on applying full Cost Accounting Standards coverage to the FEHBP.  This is only the start of the formal legislative process.

Following up on yesterday’s Drug Store News, the Drug Channels blog offers its observations on the modified Walgreen’s deal with Rite Aid.

Modern Healthcare reports that while significant gains were made to reduce in-patient readmissions in the first three years of the government motivated reduction program, little further progress has been made since 2013.  Gathering the low hanging fruit was useful. The second stage is usually more challenging.

As recently as 2011, all-cause readmissions cost the nation $41 billion, according to a 2014 Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality report. Medicare’s tab alone was $26 billion annually, $17 billion of which was attributable to avoidable rehospitalizations. By 2014, Medicare spending on readmissions fell by $9 billion.
While improvements were made during the first three years of the readmissions program, concern is mounting that momentum has stalled. There’s been no more than 0.1% reduction on average between 2013 to mid-2016, according to a December 2016 JAMA study.

That publication also is reporting that hospitals are struggling with collecting patient bills. The FEHBlog was struck by this statistic:

In the past five years, health insurers went from paying 90% of patient-care costs to only about 70% and that’s causing massive headaches for providers.

The FEHBlog doubts this is an issue with FEHB coverage.

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