The Weekly Insight: November 14

14th Nov 2017

Texas Insight Reports: November 6-10

  • The House Committees on Human Services and Public Health: Joint Hearing: The House Committees on Human Services and Public Health met in a joint hearing on Wednesday, November 1, 2017, at 10:00 am to hear testimony in review of the state’s response to Hurricane Harvey in regards to public health and human services efforts including preparatory and recovery efforts. The Committees heard invited testimony only.
  • HHSC: State Medicaid Managed Care Advisory Committee: The State Medicaid Managed Care Advisory Committee gathered for their quarterly meeting.
  • HHSC: Hospital Payment Advisory Committee: The Hospital Payment Advisory Committee, a sub-committee of the Medical Care Advisory Committee (MCAC), advises MCAC and HHS about hospital reimbursement methodologies for inpatient hospital prospective payment and on adjustments for disproportionate share hospitals. During this meeting, they received updates on programs and elected new officers.
  • Pharma in Texas Part III: The Opioid Epidemic: The previous two postings have explored the pharmaceutical industry in Texas in general and in the state’s corrections system in particular. This posting covers the Texas opioid crisis, which is a critical threat to the state’s public and fiscal health.
  • Pharma in Texas Part IV: Children in Foster Care: The previous three postings have explored the pharmaceutical industry in Texas in general and pharmaceutical use in the state’s corrections system in particular, as well as the status of the opioid crisis in the state. Particularly troubling is the presence of pharmaceuticals in the Texas foster care system, which is the topic of this posting.
  • The Texas Opioid Crisis: A Crisis of Addiction: This posting looks more deeply at the Texas opioid crisis from a policy perspective.


Federal Healthcare News

  • Trump Administration Guiding Health Shoppers to Agents Paid by Insurers: After cutting funds for nonprofit groups that help people obtain health insurance under the Affordable Care Act, the Trump administration is encouraging the use of insurance agents and brokers who are often paid by insurers when they help people sign up.
  • With Obamacare Fight Lost, Conservatives Turn to Veterans’ Care: With their hopes of repealing the Affordable Care Act dashed for now, deep-pocketed conservative activists have turned their attention to a smaller but still potent new effort: allowing private health care to compete with Veterans Affairs hospitals for the patronage of the nation’s veterans.
  • Election Results Invigorate Medicaid Expansion Hopes: The election results in Maine and Virginia have energized supporters of expanding Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act in several holdout states. After months of battling Republican efforts to repeal the law, they now see political consensus shifting in their direction.
  • Congress Weighs Repeal of Tax Credit for Rare Disease Drugs: A decades-old tax credit designed to spur cures for rare diseases has been so successful that it’s now become a target in the House Republican tax plan. The proposal under consideration would end the tax breaks for development of what are called orphan drugs. Ending the credit used by big and small drug companies could save the government an estimated $54 billion over the next decade, an effort to help offset some of the anticipated losses in revenue if other Republican tax cut provisions become law. With the Senate poised to offer its own broad tax plan soon, many details are still in flux. But if the orphan drug tax credit is eliminated, the move would represent a rare defeat for the powerful pharmaceutical industry.
  • Senate Tax Bill Leaves Out ‘Unborn Child’ Provision: The Senate GOP’s proposed tax legislation does not include a provision allowing parents to start a college savings account for unborn children, breaking from the House bill.
  • ObamaCare Insurer Competition Declining: Study: Insurer competition in the ObamaCare marketplaces is declining, but three-quarters of enrollees still have a choice of two or more insurers, according to a new analysis.