Weekend Update

Congress remains in session this week on Capitol Hill for legislative and committee business. The House passed its first appropriations minibus (HR 7608) last week. The FEHBlog expects the House to pass the next minibus (HR 7617) including FEHBP appropriations this coming week. Meanwhile, both Houses continue to work on another COVID-19 relief bill.

On Friday, the federal government filed its opposition to the Whitman-Walker Clinic’s motion for a preliminary injunction to stay the mid August effective date for the Trump Administration’s revised ACA Section 1557 rule. While the FEHBlog expected the government to pull back the rule in order to adjust it for the Supreme Court’s Bostock County decision, the government took the hang out route. The plaintiffs’ reply is due Wednesday July 29 and the oral argument on the motion will be held on Monday August 3 at 2 pm in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. According to Katie Keith’s article on ACA litigation, posted last week, there are several other legal challenges pending against this rule.

The FEHBlog did virtually attend NCQA’s Digital Quality Summit last week. The FEHBlog was probably the only lawyer attending this conference, but the FEHBlog finds health care quality measurement fascinating (just like OPM). However, the FEHBlog just took a look at the speaker’s list and found out that one of the general session speakers is a sister at the bar. What do you know? The FEHBlog remains a firm believer in the FHIR API to facilitate health quality measurement. The FEAHBlog likes the lead in this FHIR website “Integrations don’t need to be complicated.”

In other news

Proponents of alternative payment models hope the pandemic will drive adoption of value-based arrangements down the line, as the financial pressures facing fee-for-service primary care practices have highlighted the shortcomings of paying for volume. There’s a dichotomy between fee-for-service practices, which have been staring at potential financial ruin since March, and those in alternative payment models, [e.g. direct primary care practices“}whose finances are in some ways insulated from the worst of the pandemic’s economic repercussions.

  • Health Payer Intelligence reports that

More than six in ten employers said that they would be partnering with their healthcare payer in the workplace transition back to the office, an Optum survey found. The survey revealed that only 16 percent of employers had achieved a full transition to the worksite. “Although almost all organizations appear committed to completing their transitions by early September, there will be a need for sustained employee well-being support well beyond the 90-day window,” the survey reminded.

  • Here’s a Forbes’s assessment of the President’s four executive orders issued on Friday in an effort to lower prescription drug prices. The international price index executive order is still not found on whitehouse.gov. What’s more, here is Avik Roy’s take on the executive orders.

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