Key Trump proposal to lower drug prices takes step forward: In October, President Trump floated the idea of linking drug prices to an international index. Last week, Senate Finance Committee Chairman Grassley (R-Iowa) expressed his oppotion to that proposal. On Friday, HHS Secretary Azar sent the White House an indexing plan. We will see if Sen. Grassley changes his mind about the scheme.
Ingredient CBD Could One Day Become an Antibiotic: The headline speaks for itself. The article indicates promising results.
The top 10 drug launches of 2019: This article is FYI and has details about each drug.
About healthcare IT
Medication lists generated by EHRs lack accuracy: Although this study was for ophthalmology, it highlights the need to double check patient information.
About healthcare quality and safety
MedPAC Seeks Changes to Medicare Advantage, Star Ratings Metrics: CMS rates Medicare Advantage plans using a star system based on the insurer’s service area. MedPAC is recommending the evaluations be based on local market measurements that are “prospectively set” in “five major, assessable domains of healthcare set on a scale from 0 to 10. Each domain contributes 20 percent to the final score…The commission offered the following as major indications of quality: avoidable hospitalizations, avoidable emergency department (ED) visits, readmissions, patient experience, and patient-reported outcomes.” It is up to CMS to accept or reject these recommendations.
Update on FDA device reporting: As previously reported, the FDA is shutting down its Alternative Summary Reporting program that allowed manufacturers to report product malfunctions and avoid public scrutiny. It is replacing this system with “The National Evaluation System for health Technology (NEST), which uses data from patient registries, Medicare claims, and electronic health records, is meant to provide critical information for assessing the safety and effectiveness of medical devices using real-world evidence.”
Hospital Readmission Rates in Medicare Advantage and Traditional Medicare: A Retrospective Population-Based Analysis: Policy makers are always looking at difference between traditional Medicare and Medicare Advantage to promote a particular viewpoint. This study concluded that: “The HEDIS data underreported hospital admissions for 3 common medical conditions [heart attack, heart failure, and pneumonia] and readmission rates were higher among patients with underreported admissions. Medicare Advantage beneficiaries had higher risk-adjusted 30-day readmission rates than traditional Medicare beneficiaries.” The debate about which system is better will continue as “Medicare for all” proposals are still on the table.
About health insurance
CMS Defines New Medicaid Integrity Guidelines:Based on a report from its Office of Inspector General (OIG), CMS is claiming that it overpaid states $1 billion because they are not accurately following Medicaid eligibility criteria. This article describes what is happening and what CMS seeks to do.
Supreme Court agrees to hear insurers' cases seeking billions in ACA risk corridor payments: Risk corder payments were instituted to protect insurers from downside risk in the first few years of the ACA. Many lost money but the government did not pay them. The reason was that the program was legislated to be budget neutral and there weren’t enough profitable plans to come up with money for those losses. Now the Supreme Court has decided to hear a combination of 3 suits claiming $12 billion in lost payments.
Now Trump says he meant to keep Obamacare. Say what?:In an NBC interview yesterday, President Trump says he saved the ACA despite its flaws and made it as good as it can get. Guess he forgot the failed Republican attempt at repeal in 2017 (remember how angry he got at the late Senator McCain for casting the deciding vote) and the Justice Department’s siding with the Texas court decision on appeal to declare the ACA invalid.