Mid-week update

Medpage Today reported on yesterday’s Senate Health Education Labor and Pensions Committee third hearing on controlling health care costs. This hearing focused on administrative savings.

CMS announced yesterday that “for the second year in a row, the average basic premium for a Medicare Part D prescription drug plan in 2019 is projected to decline. At a time when health insurance premiums are rising across-the-board, basic Part D premiums are expected to fall from $33.59 this year to $32.50 next year.”

HHS released its short term health plan rule this morning.

The rule allows for the sale and renewal of short-term, limited-duration plans that cover longer periods than the previous maximum period of less than three months. Such coverage can now cover an initial period of less than 12 months, and, taking into account any extensions, a maximum duration of no longer than 36 months in total. This action will help increase choices for Americans faced with escalating premiums and dwindling options in the individual insurance market.

The rule is effective in 60 days.

Federal News Radio reports that

The Homeland Security Department is standing up a new one-stop shop aimed at protecting and sharing cyber threat information with major industries, including banks, electric companies and telecommunications companies.

DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, speaking Tuesday at an agency cybersecurity summit in New York, said the National Risk Management Center would help break down some of the communication barriers that exist between the government and sectors.

The new center builds on the work of the Automated Indicator Sharing Program launched in 2016. Here’s a link to the agency’s press release.

The Republican leadership of the House Energy and Commerce Committee sent a letter to the Federal Trade Commission last week asking the agency to conduct a retrospective analysis of prescription benefit manager mergers that occurred over the past decade or so — CVS Health and Caremark, Express Scripts and Medco, and Optum and Catamaran.  The purpose of the analysis would be to assess whether the FTC’s antitrust enforcement authority “has been effective as necessary.” The Committee asked for a reply to the request by August 10. The analysis is likely to occur.