Washington Update

Shutdown Ends, but Potential Battles Loom Over the Debt Ceiling and Budget Negotiations

Legislation | Permanent link

On October 16, 2013, President Obama signed into law (H.R. 2775, Public Law 113-46) the Continuing Appropriations Act, 2014, to end the government shutdown and raise the debt ceiling. The law contains several... Click Here To Read More

Flaws Persist in Federal Health Exchange Website

Legislation, HHS | Permanent link
On October 1, 2013, the federal government opened the Health Insurance Marketplace established through the Affordable Care Act (ACA), and millions of Americans in 36 states logged on to www.healthcare.gov to explore their insurance options. While... Click Here To Read More

House Committee Investigates Health Exchange Implementation Glitches

Legislation | Permanent link
The House Energy and Commerce Committee held a hearing titled, “PPACA Implementation Failures: Didn’t Know or Didn’t Disclose?” on October 24 to investigate problems with the rollout of the federally run Health Insurance Marketplace website, Click Here To Read More

Gainful Employment Regulations Still on Administration’s Agenda

Legislation | Permanent link
The Obama Administration has indicated that it is toughening its regulation of for-profit colleges by taking another aim at drafting rules requiring vocational programs to prove that they are preparing students for “gainful employment.” The gainful employment issue encompasses for-profit colleges and non-degree career programs at public and... Click Here To Read More

Debate Continues Over the Medical Device Tax

Legislation | Permanent link
The Affordable Care Act imposes a tax on medical devices; the idea is to levy new fees on various medical industries and, through the law’s expansion of Medicaid and federal tax credits, it would help low- to moderate-income people buy private insurance. The medical device tax has become very unpopular; it seems to have garnered bipartisan disdain... Click Here To Read More

Senate Finance Committee Dives Into the Debate on Entitlements

Legislation | Permanent link
On October 10, 2013, the Senate Finance Committee held a hearing on “The Debt Limit.” You can access the video and testimony from the hearing here. Treasury Secretary Jacob J. Lew testified that... Click Here To Read More

Proposals to Overhaul Medicare, Medigap Could Resurface in Budget Talks

Legislation | Permanent link
To end the recent budget stalemate, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) offered a series of proposals to overhaul Medicare and other programs. His proposals did not make it into the final agreement, but the Wisconsin Republican’s ideas are likely to provide a framework for what House Republicans seek in future budget negotiations.

In an October 8,... Click Here To Read More

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Releases Model HIPPA Privacy Notices

HHS | Permanent link
On September 13, 2013, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) released several variations of a model Notice of Privacy Practices for use by health care providers and health plans to communicate with their patients and plan members. The new model notices facilitate compliance with a portion of the Omnibus Final Rule under the Health... Click Here To Read More

A Closer Look at the Federal Debt Limit

Legislation | Permanent link
According to a Congressional Research Service (CRS) report, Congress has always restricted federal debt. A 1917 law included an aggregate limit on federal debt, as well as limits on specific debt issues. During the Depression era, Congress... Click Here To Read More

Government Accountability Office Issues Report on Electronic Health Record Payments

Research | Permanent link

The Government Accountability Office (GAO) released a report on October 24, 2013, which found a large increase in electronic health record (EHR) Incentive Program payments to eligible hospitals (EHs) and eligible professionals (EPs) in 2012 compared to 2011. GAO reported that EHs and EPs were awarded $6.3 billion in Medicare EHR Incentive... Click Here To Read More

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