- Anthem may abandon many of the 14 states in which it provides individual insurance coverage through the Affordable Care Act exchanges. But the insurer, one of the largest in the ACA marketplace, may also be using the warning to gain leverage as it seeks significant premium hikes in 2018, according to Bloomberg. CEO Joseph Swedish earlier this year said the company was considering strategic retreats from the marketplace and had asked for short-term fixes to stabilize the market while Congress figured out an ACA replacement plan. Now that the first organized attempt to dismantle the ACA has failed, Anthem and other insurance companies are pushing for other policy changes.
- The CMS has delayed a rule that would have cut clinical labs' Medicare payments by $3.93 billion over 10 years. The final rule released last year lowered Medicare payments for laboratory tests to put them on par with private insurance reimbursement. Although the rule was slated to go into effect Jan. 1, 2018, labs told the agency they needed additional time to review data and ensure their accuracy before submitting the information to the CMS by March 31. The labs have until May 30 to submit their reports.
- Senate Republicans needed Vice President Mike Pence to break a tie on legislation to reverse an Obama administration rule protecting funds for Planned Parenthood and other family planning providers. The GOP was forced to keep a procedural vote open for just over an hour after two Republicans senators, Alaska's Lisa Murkowski and Maine's Susan Collins, voted against moving ahead on the measure. The Obama administration finalized the rule just a few weeks before President Donald Trump was inaugurated. It would bar states from denying federal family planning funds to organizations like Planned Parenthood that also perform abortions.
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