From Capitol Hill, the Wall Street Journal reports
Republicans won a majority of seats in the House of Representatives with a victory in California, the Associated Press said late Wednesday, bolstering their ability to steer the agenda on Capitol Hill after two years of Democratic control of both chambers of Congress and the White House.
The Congressional Research Service released a report on health care provisions expiring at the end of this 117th Congress.
Healthcare Dive adds
With midterm elections resulting in a narrowly divided Congress, the HHS will be free to focus on longstanding priorities for the health department, such as implementing drug negotiation policy within Medicare, HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra said at the HLTH conference in Las Vegas on Tuesday.
“In a way, we’re now going to be able to concentrate on the work we have to still execute on,” Becerra said,
Under the Inflation Reduction Act passed earlier this year, Congress granted Medicare the power to negotiate how much it pays for certain prescription drugs starting in 2026, and to receive rebates from pharmaceutical manufacturers that hike drug costs above the rate of inflation starting in 2023.
Of course, HHS and its partners have a lot of work on implementing the No Surprises Act. Health Payer Intelligence discusses the good faith estimate and advance explanation of benefits comments that an ERISA plan trade association, ERIC, submitted to the NSA regulators yesterday.
In other HLTH 2022 conference news,
- Healthcare Dive tells us about Google’s plans for offering personal health records and Maven Clinic‘s efforts to build a maternal health business by, e.g., recently landing a $90 million Series E amid increasing investor focus on women’s health.
- MedCity News informs us, “Cell and gene therapies are offering patients potentially curative treatments for a growing scope of diseases. Insurance companies are trying to figure out how to pay for them. Industry consultants speaking at the HLTH conference offered some strategies they see payers taking to these new therapies.”
From the federal employee benefits front,
- Govexec collected all of its current Open Season articles for convenient access.
- Reg Jones, writing in Fedweek, recommends that federal employees contemplating retirement should retire on December 31, 2022.
- Govexec reports that the Postal Service is headed into its busy season with far fewer employees than past years.
From the Affordable Care Act front —
- The FEHBlog ran across this updated reference chart on minimum essential coverage under the ACA.
- The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force issued its 12th Annual Report to Congress which is titled “High-Priority Evidence Gaps for Clinical Preventive Services.”
From the public health front —
- Forbes reports “Researchers at the University of Houston have developed a vaccine that could block the effects of fentanyl and prevent addiction, according to a new study that could unlock solutions to the opioid epidemic as more than 150 people die every day from overdoses connected to synthetic opioids.”
- CNN reports “The five-year lung cancer survival rate has increased 21%, from 21% in 2014 to 25% in 2018, making what experts call “remarkable progress” – but it is still the leading cause of cancer death in the United States. However, in communities of color, a person’s odds of surviving five years after diagnosis are much lower, at only 20%, according to the 2022 State of Lung Cancer report, which was published by the American Lung Association on Tuesday.”
- The National Institutes of Health tells us “COVID-19 Vaccines Are Safe for People Receiving Cancer Immunotherapy, Study Confirms.”
From the miscellany department —
- Forbes informs us “UnitedHealth Group’s pharmacy benefit manager Optum Rx Tuesday said it will put three less expensive “biosimilar” versions of Abbvie’s pricey rheumatoid arthritis drug Humira ‘in the same position as the brand’ on the PBM’s preferred list of drugs known as a formulary.”
- Health Payer Intelligence relates “While employer-sponsored health plans’ total costs for coronavirus hospitalizations could range from $10,000 to over $38,000 in 2020, employee costs remained fairly consistent, a Peterson-Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF) Health System Tracker brief found.”
- MedTech Dive discusses how Labcorp, Abbott, BD, and Siemens plan to expand the home testing market
- NCQA looks back at its recent Health Innovation Summit.