The FEHBlog was pleased to read that the Senate leadership has decided to extend the current session for two weeks, thereby reducing the August recess from five weeks to two weeks. Not only does the Senate have to address the health care bill, but there also is a growing backlog of Trump nominations such as the OPM director and deputy director, that is building up and Congress needs time to resolve deficit ceiling and FY 2018 appropriations issues.
It’s best not to make predictions about Congressional actions. A year ago and six months ago, the FEHBlog was swearing up and down that Congress was poised to pass postal reform. But no dice. Similarly, the FEHBlog wrote last winter about a bill (H.R. 372) that flew through Congress with nearly unanimous support to remove the federal antitrust law exemption from health insurers. This occurred right around the time that Aetna and Anthem were losing their antitrust cases so it was a bit puzzling to the FEHBlog. In any event this morning the FEHBlog heard a radio interview with Rep. Louie Gohmert (R TX) who was troubled by the fact that this bill has not gone anywhere in the Senate. Rep. Gohmert also criticized a tort reform bill (H.R. 1215) that the House passed last month on Tenth Amendment grounds. More practically he was concerned that if Congress set this precedent, the Democrats would seek to undo state tort reform laws when they eventually hold the gavel again. Interesting.
And in straightforward good news —
- Modern Medicine interviews Cigna’s chief medical officer about the company’s successful efforts to reduce opioid prescriptions to their plan members by approximately 12% over the past year.
- Fierce Healthcare interviews Aetna’s chief of medical strategy about the company’s strategic partnership with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control to reduce the overprescription of antibiotics.