Tuesday Tidbits

Photo by Patrick Fore on Unsplash

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit issued an opinion today affirming a district court holding that the Trump Administration’s hospital price transparency rule is lawful. The rule takes effect on Friday January 1. Needless to say the Court also denied the appellant American Hospital Association’s motion for an emergency stay of the rule.

On a similar note, one of the transparency provisions included in the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021, amendments to the Affordable Care Act (Section 114 of Division BB) states:

‘‘A group health plan or a health insurance issuer offering group or individual health insurance coverage shall offer price comparison guidance by telephone and make available on the Internet website of the plan or issuer a price comparison tool that (to the extent practicable) allows an individual enrolled under such plan or coverage, with respect to such plan year, such geographic region, and participating providers with respect to such plan or coverage, to compare the amount of cost-sharing that the individual would be responsible for paying under such plan or coverage with respect to the furnishing of a specific item or service by any such provider.’’’

This new requirement, which applies to FEHB plans, takes effect with the first plan year beginning on or after January 1, 2022. The recently finalized Trump Administration’s payer transparency rule kicks in a year later. We will have to see how the Biden Administration handle this.

As the FEHBlog just picked up a couple of delicious Christmas cookies, it is time to consider the joint HHS and Department of Agriculture Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2020-2025 released today. The announcement described the publication as “the nation’s trusted resource for evidence-based nutrition guidance. The guidelines are designed for use by healthcare professionals and policy makers for outreach to the general public and provide the nutritional foundation for federal nutrition programs. The dietary guidelines should not be considered clinical guidelines for the treatment of disease.” The announcement notes that

Steeped in scientific evidence, the key recommendations look similar to those of the past and address two topics that garnered much attention throughout the development of the guidelines – added sugars and alcoholic beverages. Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2020-2025 carried forward the committee’s emphasis on limiting these dietary components, but did not include changes to quantitative recommendations, as there was not a preponderance of evidence in the material the committee reviewed to support specific changes, as required by law. As in previous editions, limited intake of these two food components is encouraged. In fact, this sentiment remains prominent throughout the policy document and complements 

For consumers, USDA’s MyPlate translates and packages these principles of dietary guidance for Americans in a way that is handy and accessible. To share these messages broadly, USDA offers the Start Simple with MyPlate campaign and a new MyPlate websiteto help individuals, families, and communities make healthy food choices that are easy, accessible, and affordable, in addition to helping prevent chronic disease. For more information, please visit www.myplate.gov.

Funny, the FEHBlog no longer sees Christmas cookies on his plate.

P.S. The Senate did not vote on the stipend increase or the NDAA veto today per the Wall Street Journal. This session of Congress ends on Saturday.