Health Policy Report (8/26)

Trump Administration Proposes Changes to Part 2 Privacy Rules

Last Thursday, the Trump administration released a much-anticipated rule which proposes updates to the consent requirements governing the release of patient information for individuals seeking treatment for substance use disorder. The rule, developed by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), is designed to address barriers to care coordination for providers that treat individuals with substance use disorder (SUD), while maintaining privacy safeguards for patients seeking treatment for SUD. During a call with reporters, Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Alex Azar acknowledged that the administration does not have the authority to fully align the 42 CFR Part 2 (or Part 2) rules with the more general consent requirements in the Health Information Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) – a change sought by many Members of Congress and stakeholders.

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Health Policy Report (8/19)

CMS Adds Star Ratings to All Exchanges

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) released guidance last Thursday indicating that it would bring its Star Ratings — long the province of Medicare Advantage and programs like Nursing Home Compare — to all CMS-administered health care exchanges. Starting with the open enrollment for plan year 2020, all plans sold on the federal exchange, federally-facilitated exchanges, and state exchanges will bear star ratings, giving customers the ability to see simple quality metrics when selecting an Exchange plan. “Increasing transparency and competition drive better quality and cost, with consumers benefitting the most,” said CMS Administrator Seema Verma in a press release accompanying the rollout

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Health Policy Report

White House: Trump Will Announce IPI Model in September

President Trump is expected give a major health policy speech in September, including a roll-out of an international reference price system for prescription drugs. As reported last week in Bloomberg News, the President’s senior adviser, Kellyanne Conway, said that an international pricing index (IPI) for purchasing certain drugs under Medicare would be in the President’s plan, although she gave no indication if the plan would resemble one outlined in an advance notice of proposed rulemaking (ANPRM) from October 2018 that targeted Part B drugs or if it would be more expansive. The plan will reportedly be unveiled alongside a number of other health care-related proposals, though few specifics are available. According to Conway, Congressional Republicans have been briefed on the President’s plans.

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Health Policy Report

The Week in Review

Senators reconvened last week to address key legislative priorities ahead of the August recess.  In addition to a host of presidential nominations, the Senate addressed budgetary spending caps and the federal debt ceiling by clearing the House-passed budget agreement. The deal — which approves $321 billion in new spending and suspends the debt ceiling for two years — was swiftly enacted into law by President Donald Trump late last week.

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Financial Services Report (8/5)

Both the House and Senate are in the August Recess and will return on September 9th. When the Senate returns in September it will continue approving executive nominations, including those of Kelly Craft to be UN Ambassador and Michelle Bowman to the Fed Board.
The House Financial Services Committee will also have a full September agenda.

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