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Azar defends proposed HHS budget, Medicare cuts in House committee hearing

February 16, 2018

During House and Senate committee hearings, HHS Secretary Alex Azar outlines his priorities for the department, including improving health care access and affordability, transitioning toward value-based payment models, reducing prescription drug costs, and expanding coverage for telehealth services.

CMS: US health care spending hit $3.5T in 2017

February 15, 2018

CMS' Office of the Actuary says spending growth projections for 2017 through 2026 are largely fueled by the aging baby boomer population, increased prices for medical goods and services, and growth in disposable personal income.

Ryan calls for GOP to seek 'incremental' health care reforms

February 15, 2018

House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) says he "think[s] the best chance" Republicans have at changing the U.S. health care system is to seek "incremental" reforms, since larger-scale reforms likely would not have enough support to pass in the Senate.

Recently-enacted CHRONIC Care Act will improve access to telemedicine, experts say

February 14, 2018

The Creating High-Quality Results and Outcomes Necessary to Improve Chronic Care Act of 2017, which was included in Congress' recently enacted spending package, revises Medicare payment policies to expand telemedicine coverage for beneficiaries with chronic conditions, as well as those presenting with stroke symptoms.

The health care provisions in Trump's budget proposal

February 13, 2018

President Trump's fiscal year (FY) 2019 budget proposal requests $95.4 billion in discretionary HHS funding—with some federal health care agencies seeing budget increases and others seeing budget cuts when compared with FY 2017.

Under new law, PAs can manage hospice care for Medicare beneficiaries beginning in 2019

February 13, 2018

The American Association of Physician Assistants is praising a provision included in a two-year spending package recently signed into law that, beginning in 2019, will allow physician assistants (PAs) to provide and manage hospice care for certain Medicare beneficiaries, saying the change "will empower PAs to offer continuity of care at a time when patients and their families are most vulnerable."

White House outlines policies to lower Rx drug prices

February 12, 2018

The White House Council of Economic Advisers outlines several policy suggestions for lowering prescription drug prices in the United States, including ways to reduce incentives for Medicare providers to prescribe high-priced drugs and boost incentives to prescribe lower-priced drugs.

Study: Medicare well visits boost revenue—but few practices are adopting the service

February 12, 2018

Researchers say health care providers' slow uptake in Medicare annual wellness visits is causing many practices to miss out on revenue increases, and the varied adoption rates "could worsen disparities in prevention and health outcomes for underserved patients."

The (very brief) shutdown is over—and MACRA, Medicare, CHCs, and more just changed

February 9, 2018

Early this morning, President Trump signed a spending package that funds the federal government through March 23 and raises 2018 and 2019 budget caps for defense and domestic programs, including those to combat the opioid misuse epidemic and fund community health centers.

The latest deal to avert a shutdown could affect Medicare, MACRA, CHCs, and more

February 8, 2018

Congress today is expected to vote on a spending package that would fund the government through March 23, increase funding for community health centers and to combat the opioid misuse epidemic, repeal the Affordable Care Act's Independent Payment Advisory Board, and more.

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