Solutions for the Health Industry

Health Policy Update

The Health Policy Update is a bi-weekly newsletter from McKesson Specialty Health with legislative updates and resources to help community providers advocate for their practices and patients.


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Health Policy Update – October 26, 2018 (PDF, 268 KB)

  • Lawmakers, Stakeholders Call on Administration to Rescind Step Therapy Proposal
  • CMS Announces International Pricing Index (IPI) Model for Medicare Part B Drugs
  • President Trump Signs Package of Legislation to Combat Opioid Crisis
  • Trump Administration Issues New Requirements for Drug Advertising
  • Bipartisan Group of Lawmakers Urges CMS to Issue Guidance on Prior Authorization
  • Mississippi and Colorado Medicaid Programs Require Hospitals to Provide More Information on 340B Drugs
  • Senate, House Party Control Up for Grabs in Looming Midterm Election

Health Policy Update – Oct. 12, 2018 (PDF, 229 KB)

  • Senate Passes Historic Opioid Legislation Sending Final Bill to President Trump
  • House Passes $854B Spending Bill
  • CMS Announces Participants in New Value-Based Bundled Payment Model
  • CMS to Strengthen Oversight of Medicare’s Accreditation Organizations
  • Hospitals Urge Lawmakers to Protect 340B Drug Discount Program
  • CMMI Chief Adam Boehler Comments on ACO Participation
  • CMS Updates Local Coverage Determination (LCD) Process
  • OIG Report: Medicare Advantage Appeal Outcomes and Audit Findings Raise Concerns About Service and Payment Denials

Health Policy Update – Oct. 1, 2018 (PDF, 236 KB)

  • ASP Coalition Hosts Hill Briefing on Step Therapy Challenges
  • Alliance for Site Neutral Payment Reform Submits Comments on OPPS Rule
  • Congress Reaches Deal on Opioids Package
  • American Hospital Association Unveils 340B Good Stewardship Principles
  • Congresswoman DelBene Circulates Letter Urging CMS to Expand MIPS Low-Volume Threshold
  • Bills Banning PBM “Gag Clauses” Headed for President’s Signature

Health Policy Update – Sept. 14, 2018 (PDF, 221 KB)

  • 240 Stakeholder Groups Call on Congress to Ask CMS to Reverse Step Therapy Proposal
  • CMS to Allow Indication-Based Formulary Design for Part D Plans
  • Hospital Groups Refile Lawsuit to Challenge 340B Cuts, Force Implementation of Ceiling Pricing Rule
  • PhRMA Report Finds Hospitals Mark-up Prescription Drugs by up to 500 Percent
  • E&C Leaders Seek More Information on Role of PBMs in Impacting Drug Prices
  • House E&C Committee Advances PBM Gag Clause Ban
  • E&C Committee Leaders Ask MedPAC to Study Hospital Consolidation

Health Policy Update – August 30, 2018 (PDF, 215 KB)

  • CMS Releases New Guidance on Indication-Based Formulary Design for Medicare Part D Plans

Health Policy Update - August 13, 2018 (PDF, 84 KB)

  • CMS Releases New Step Therapy Guidance for Medicare Advantage Plans

Health Policy Update – July 18, 2018 (PDF, 199 KB)

  • CMS Releases Proposed Medicare Payment Rules for 2019
  • Groups Submit Comments to Trump Administration on Drug Pricing Plan
  • President Trump Nominates Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court
  • House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health Examines 340B Program  
  • Alex Azar Delivers Remarks at 340B Conference  
  • Appeals Court Denies Hospital Groups’ Challenge to 340B Cuts
  • CMS Announces Demonstration Program that Would Exempt Doctors in At-Risk Medicare Advantage Programs from MIPS Participation
  • FDA Administrator Gottlieb Delivers Remarks at National Comprehensive Cancer Network Policy Summit

Health Policy Update – June 21, 2018 (PDF, 147 KB)

  • Secretary Azar Discusses Administration’s Drug Pricing Blueprint Before Senate HELP Committee
  • Congresswoman Matsui Introduces Bill to Reverse 340B Cuts
  • Senate HELP Committee Holds Hearing on 340B Drug Discount Program
  • Administration Declines to Defend ACA’s Pre-existing Condition Ban in Federal Court
  • Administration Issues Association Health Plan Final Rule
  • House Passes Dozens of Bills to Address Opioid Crisis
  • NIH Leaders Outline Plan to Fight Opioid Epidemic

Health Policy Update – June 7, 2018 (PDF, 168 KB)

  • Community Oncology Alliance Sues HHS for Applying Sequestration to Part B Drug
  • HRSA Officially Delays 340B Penalties Rule
  • Senate HELP Committee to Hold Hearing on 340B Drug Discount Program
  • Bipartisan Bill to Lower Part D Drug Prices Introduced in the House
  • CBO Report Finds President’s FY 2019 Budget Would Reduce Federal Health Care Spending by $1.3 Trillion
  • Senator Bill Cassidy Presents Health Care Reform Ideas in White Paper
  • Report Finds Drug Spending Doubled in the Past Five Years, Expected to Double Again in the Next Five Years
  • Senate Judiciary Committee Approves Five Bipartisan Opioid Bills

Health Policy Update – May 24, 2018 (PDF, 179 KB)

  • Administration Releases Drug Pricing Proposal
  • CMS Releases Updated Drug Spending Dashboard
  • CMS Urges Medicare Part D Plans to Stop Using Pharmacy Gag Orders
  • COA Survey Highlights Physician Concerns with Part B Reform Proposals
  • House Passes Right to Try Bill, Sending it to President Trump’s Desk
  • House Energy & Commerce, Ways & Means Committees Advance Additional Bills to Combat Opioid Abuse
  • Senate HELP Committee Hearing Examines Oversight of the 340B Drug Discount Program

Health Policy Update – May 10, 2018 (PDF, 176 KB)

  • McKesson Chairman Testifies at House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee Hearing
  • President Trump to Deliver Speech on Drug Pricing This Friday
  • HHS Secretary Azar, CMS Administrator Verma Deliver Remarks Before the American Hospital Association
  • Alliance for Site Neutral Payment Reform Applauds Republican Study Committee Budget
  • HRSA Delays 340B Rule for a Second Time
  • Federal Appeals Court Hears Oral Arguments in 340B Cuts Lawsuit
  • Survey Reveals ACOs Have Significant Concerns About Risk, Would Prefer to Stay in Track 1

Health Policy Update – April 26, 2018 (PDF, 253 KB)

  • The US Oncology Network Attends 2018 Community Oncology Alliance Annual Conference
  • CSRO Developing an APM to Cut PBMs Out of the Drug Channel
  • Key Committees Continue Work to Address Opioid Epidemic
  • CMS Releases FY2019 Inpatient Prospective Payment System Proposed Rule
  • House Ways and Means Committee Holds Hearing on Innovation in Healthcare
  • Poll Finds Over Half of Americans Support Single Payer Healthcare

Health Policy Update- April 12, 2018 (PDF, 160 KB)

  • House Speaker Paul Ryan Announces Retirement at End of Term
  • HHS Announces Adam Boehler as Director of CMMI
  • MedPAC Recommends Update to Physician Fee-for-Service Payment Rates
  • 340B Update: CMS to Allow Medicare Advantage Plans That Contract with Hospitals to Negotiate 340B Rates, Delays Rule to Set New Drug Ceiling Prices
  • Key Congressional Committees Hold Hearings on Opioid Legislation
  • Nearly 12 Million People Signed up for Health Insurance on the Federal Exchange
  • Presidents of the ACR, AAN Release Joint Op-ed Criticizing Trump Administration’s Drug Pricing Proposals

Congress Passes FY19 Omnibus (PDF, 83 KB)

This week, Congress passed legislation to fund the federal government for the remainder of Fiscal Year 2018, at the levels agreed upon in the two-year budget agreement passed in February. The $1.3 trillion bill will fund the government through September 30, 2018.

Health Policy Update—March 16, 2018 (PDF, 260 KB)

  • House Fails to Pass Right to Try Legislation
  • Senate HELP Committee Hearing Examines 340B Program
  • House, Senate Committees to Hold Hearings on Opioid Crisis
  • FDA Administrator Criticizes PBMs in Recent Remarks
  • HHS Secretary Azar Discusses Value-Based Care, Drug Pricing Transparency
  • CMS Rejects Idaho’s Plan to Sell Non-ACA Compliant Insurance Plans

Health Policy Update—March 1, 2018 (PDF, 250 KB)

  • HHS Releases Short-Term, Limited Duration Health Plans Proposed Rule
  • CMS to Study Impact of MIPS on Clinicians
  • Bipartisan Group of Governors Unveil Health Reform Blueprint
  • Administration Announces New Policies to Address the Opioid Crisis
  • Congress Holds Hearings on the Opioid Crisis, Bipartisan Treatment Bill Introduced in the Senate
  • New Study Examines Hospital Impact on Chemotherapy Spending

Administration Releases Budget Proposal for Fiscal Year 2019 (PDF, 161 KB)

The budget details legislative and regulatory priorities for next year including policies under the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) designed to reduce the cost of prescription drugs, lower Medicare spending, address the opioid epidemic and increase funding for The National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Health Policy Update—February 2, 2018 (PDF, 144 KB)

  • President Trump Delivers State of the Union Address
  • Alex Azar Sworn In as HHS Secretary
  • Congress Passes CR That Funds CHIP For 6 Years, Delays ACA Taxes
  • Avalere Releases Report on Impact of 340B Cuts

Health Policy Update—January 19, 2018 (PDF, 166 KB)

  • MSH Urges Congress to Exclude Part B Drugs from MIPS Payment Adjustments
  • Senate Finance Committee Advances Alex Azar's Nomination
  • Hospitals Groups to Appeal 340B Lawsuit Dismissal
  • House Energy & Commerce Committee Releases Recommendations to Reform 340B Drug Discount Program
  • CMS Introduces New Bundled Payment Model

Health Policy Update—January 8, 2018 (PDF, 152 KB)

  • Bipartisan Bill to Increase 340B Program Transparency Introduced in the House
  • HHS Seeks Input from Stakeholders on How to Increase Competition, Expand Patient Choice in the Healthcare Marketplace
  • President Trump Signs Tax Reform Legislation
  • Congress Passes Short-Term Funding Package to Avert an End-of-Year Government Shutdown
  • Senate Finance Committee Schedules Alex Azar's Confirmation Hearing
  • Senate Finance Committee Chair Orrin Hatch Announces Retirement

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