Midweek update

The FEHBlog who is back in DC nearly fell out of his chair this afternoon when he read on the Wall Street Journal website that “CVS Health Corp. is in talks to buy Aetna Inc.  according to people familiar with the matter, in a deal that could value the health insurer at upward of $66 billion.”  The latest article indicates that the acquistion talks have been underway six months. The FEHBlog now understands why Aetna announced selling its U.S. life and disability insurance business to the Hartford earlier this week. Aetna is preparing for the acquistion which of course would require government approval. Both CVS and Aetna are heavily engaged with the FEHBP. 

In contrast, Healthcare Dive reports on the trend among health care systems to divest hospitals typically acquired in the wake of the ACA’s passage. . 

The U.S. House of Representatives today approved the Senate FY 2018 budget resolution which allows tax reform to go forward. Hopefully the tax reform bill will repeal the ACA’s health insurer tax and its medical device tax and further delay if not repeal the ACA’s Cadillac tax.

The President declared the opioid crisis to be a national public health emergency today as explained in this NPR report.  

There are several conferences coming up:
  • The Fall Healthcare Planning and Learning Action Network summit on October 30. 
  • The annual PCORI meeting on October 31 which can be viewed by webcast. Health plans currently fund the Patient Centered Outcomes Research Institute created by of course the ACA. The key note speaker is Alan Alda who is a TV doctor for Cigna. 
  • The Office of National Coordinator of Healthcare Technology’s annual meeting will be held on November 30 – December 1. The meeting will focus not surprisingly on interoperability.