Tuesday Tidbits

“Today, House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady (R-Texas) and Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) announced a bicameral agreement to pair concrete, structural Obamacare reforms with a temporary two-year funding extension for the health law’s cost-sharing reduction (CSR) program.”  Full legislative language is expected to be release this week. Heavens to betsy, the FEHBlog hopes that the full legislative language will include a repeal of the medical device and health insurer taxes and a further delay of the high cost employer sponsored plan / Cadillac plan excise tax from 2020 to 2026.  These taxes are not friendly to the FEHBP.

The Health Affairs blog is celebrating the fifth anniversary of ABIM’s Choosing Wisely campaign with a couple of interesting articles.  The campaign offers medical society recommended lists of medically unnecessary services that doctors should avoid and presumably health plans shouldn’t cover.

The American Hospital Association has released a toolkit of advice to hospitals and health systems on how address the opioid / illegal drug use epidemic. These folks are best positioned to address this problem.

Healthcare Dive tells us about a Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services study aimed to determine whether MACRA (the current Medicare Part B reimbursement system) and physicians in the Merit-based Incentive Payment System (MIPS) can reduce Medicare spending. Capital idea.

Employee Benefit News reports about the Segal Company’s 2018 projections of employer sponsored health care spending. Drug Channels discusses Prime Therapeutic’s report on prescription drug spending. Prime Therapeutics is a prescription drug manager owned by a group of Blue Cross licensees. Both reports expects lower prescription drug spending.