We have finally reached the end of the great federal holiday drought which runs from Presidents’ Day in mid -February to Memorial Day weekend which starts tomorrow.

Yesterday, the Congressional Budget Office released a report that “examines how budgetary outcomes under those proposals would compare with CBO’s adjusted baseline budget projections.” The report finds in its health programs section that OPM’s proposed legislative change to the FEHBP government contribution formula would have budgetary savings of nearly $5 billion over the period 2021 through 2028. OPM would work its magic by reducing the government contribution for most plans and raising it by 4% by those plans which in OPM’s view offer higher quality. OPM still has not released the legislative language as far as the FEHBlog know. But it appears that OPM will push forward with the plan with Congress.

Speaking of Congress, the Washington Examiner reports that a bipartisan group in Congress has introduced a bill to suspend the ACA’s onerous health insurer fee for 2020. It’s already suspended for next year, but surprisingly like a vampire it was reactivated for this year.  It’s a good idea to start early on this worthy initiative as the health insurer fee only raises premiums, particularly in the FEHBP.

Modern Healthcare reports that a group of health systems are continuing on their joint effort to create a generic drug manufacturer to serve health systems.

Intermountain Healthcare, Ascension, SSM Health and Trinity Health are working with the U.S. Veterans Affairs Department to pool their capital and fight back against drug companies that unexpectedly hike the prices of decades-old off-patent generic drugs. The providers also want to create a more reliable supply of generic drugs like sodium bicarbonate and saline that are vulnerable to shortages.

While the health systems didn’t specify what drugs their new venture will make, they want to provide both sterile injectables and oral medications either through their own facility or by contracting with existing manufacturers. 

Eighty percent of nearly 750 providers, payers and pharmaceutical companies polled said they are optimistic or cautiously hopeful that the new endeavor will change the status quo, according to a Reaction Data survey. Ninety percent of 605 hospitals and clinics surveyed said they would buy drugs from the new entity.

The FEHBlog also hopes that the joint venture succeeds.

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