The Weekly Insight: October 9

09th Oct 2017

Texas Insight Reports: October 2-6 
  • HHSC: Intellectual and Developmental Disability System Redesign Advisory Committee: Pursuant to legislation, the HHSC had issued and awarded an RFP related to pilot programs for services to individuals with Intellectual or Developmental Disabilities. Due to numerous factors including conflicting federal rules and administrative timing difficulties, the project was recently canceled. The purpose of this meeting was to answer questions that members of the IDD Redesign Advisory Committee might have related to the canceled procurement.
  • Health Impacts of Harvey: Part II: This posting describes, in a second installment, the health impacts of Harvey. Because employment and the built environment have such a profound impact on health, these areas are included in the purview of this posting as well.
  • HHSC: Policy Council for Children and Families: The Policy Council for Children and Families met in part to receive updates on selected issues, but primarily to identify topics that would be included in the legislatively mandated report.
  • Federal Healthcare Policy Reports:
    • Federal Financing for the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP): This report provides an overview of CHIP financing, beginning with an explanation of the federal matching rate. It describes various aspects of federal CHIP funding, such as the federal appropriation, state allotments, the Child Enrollment Contingency Fund, redistribution funds, and outreach and enrollment grants. The report ends with a section about the future of CHIP funding, including the options for extending CHIP funding and what could happen if federal funding expires.
    • Naloxone for Opioid Overdose: Regulation and Policy Options: In the United States, the annual number of drug overdose deaths involving opioids has more than quadrupled since 1999, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Recent estimates (through the third quarter of 2016) show that the age-adjusted rate of drug overdose deaths has continued to rise.
    • Potential Impacts of Uncertainty Regarding Affordable Care Act Cost-Sharing Reduction Payments: The continuation of cost-sharing reduction (CSR) payments has come into question, and insurers warn that they may leave the market or raise premiums without a commitment to sustained funding. To understand the concern about funding CSR payments, it is important to understand the context in which CSRs are provided, beginning with insurance premiums.
Federal Healthcare News
  • 3 Counties, $59 Million And The Opioid Crisis: The Department of Justice recently announced it would award almost $59 million in grants for programs addressing the opioid epidemic across the country. Nearly 60,000 Americans died because of drug overdoses in 2016, with the majority of those deaths attributed to opioids, according to the DOJ.
  • California Bill Would Compel Drugmakers To Justify Price Hikes: Insurers, hospitals, and health advocates are waiting for Gov. Jerry Brown to deal the drug lobby a rare defeat, by signing legislation that would force pharmaceutical companies to justify big price hikes on drugs in California.
  • Hurricane Damage in Puerto Rico Leads to Fears of Drug Shortages Nationwide: Federal officials and major drugmakers are scrambling to prevent national shortages of critical drugs for treating cancer, diabetes and heart disease, as well as medical devices and supplies, that are manufactured at 80 plants in hurricane-ravaged Puerto Rico. Pharmaceuticals and medical devices are the island’s leading exports, and Puerto Rico has become one of the world’s biggest centers for pharmaceutical manufacturing. Its factories make 13 of the world’s top-selling brand-name drugs, from Humira, the rheumatoid arthritis treatment, to Xarelto, a blood thinner used to prevent stroke, according to a report released last year.
  • Bill to Rescue Children’s Health Program Hits Snag in the House: Legislation to rescue the Children’s Health Insurance Program sailed through a Senate committee on Wednesday, but touched off a partisan conflict in the House, diminishing hopes that the popular program would be quickly refinanced.
  • Trump Poised to Sign Order Opening New Paths to Health Insurance: Stymied in his efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act, President Trump is poised to issue an order that could ease some federal rules governing health insurance and make it easier for people to band together and buy coverage on their own, administration officials said Saturday.