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HEALTH ACTION NETWORK - ADVOCATES FOR BETTER HEALTH CARE SOLUTIONS

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This Week in Health Care Reform - January 22nd, 2016

The Supreme Court declines to hear the latest challenge to the health care law; CMS details new guidelines for special enrollment; and, how the mere act of talking about reducing drug costs can lead to lower prices.

 

Week in Review

SCOTUS: The Supreme Court this week rejected the latest challenge to the health care law, turning away an appeal targeting the legislative procedures lawmakers employed to originally pass the law.  The suit sought to invalidate the Affordable Care Act on the grounds that “all bills raising revenue shall originate in the House of Representatives” – citing the rarely invoked Constitutional provision known as the ‘origination clause’ – arguing that the still-contentious health care law cleared the Senate before the House.  Having already twice upheld the law against major challenges, the decision to not hear the case all but ensures that health care reform will continue to drive the conversation on the campaign trail this election season.

New Rules:
Also this week, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced new rules governing how and when latecomers can sign-up for health insurance coverage outside the open enrollment period.  The new guidelines eliminate six of the more than 30 “special enrollment” periods currently on the book, as well as tightening controls, closing loopholes, clarifying definitions, and providing enhanced enforcement of the remaining guidelines such that “special enrollment periods serve the purpose for which they are intended.”

Rx Sabre-Rattling:
It’s no secret that out-of-control drug prices are nudging our entire health care system precariously closer to the brink.  And, while everyone (outside the pharmaceutical industry) agrees that the issue has to be addressed, exactly what that looks like is anyone’s guess.  Still, some have very clear ideas of where that conversation needs to begin.  Regardless of how that discussion comes together, that it even takes place can be, what others believe, enough to course-correct the cost trajectory currently posing a systemic threat to health care in this country.

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We encourage you to stay involved as implementation efforts surrounding health care reform progress.  Visit the Health Action Network and be sure to let us know what's on your mind.


 

Looking Ahead

Last week, Congressional Republicans held a legislative retreat outside DC, mapping out their priorities for the year ahead.  While specifics weren’t forthcoming, what GOP leaders were able to share was the importance of picking smarter fights in the coming (election) year.


We're stepping away next week, so there will not be a newsletter. But, look for us again the following week. Until then, you can keep up with the latest by following the Health Action Network on Twitter and by liking us on Facebook.