Jan. 8: Nearly half of state legislatures will have started their 2020 sessions by this date. Massachusetts kicked off its session Jan. 1; another 19 are slated to start this week. Revamping certificate-of-need laws, Medicaid reforms—both expansion and retooling eligibility, and controlling costs will loom large. In Missouri, for instance, momentum is growing to make Medicaid expansion a ballot initiative, which could put pressure on legislators and the governor to address the issue. Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker in October put forward a healthcare agenda that looked to address everything from costs to surprise billing.
Jan. 8: Wall Street watchers expect Walgreens Boots Alliance to report a drop in year-over-year earnings on higher revenue for the first quarter of its fiscal 2020, which ended in November. Zacks Investment Research predicted revenue will climb by 2.5% compared with the same period in 2019 to $34.6 billion. But it expects the nation’s largest retail drugstore chain to post earnings of $1.39 per share, a 4.8% drop. Walgreens in late December announced it was expanding its ongoing partnership with grocery chain Kroger Co., with the two forming the Retail Procurement Alliance, a joint-venture group purchasing organization. Walgreens sells health and beauty products in select Kroger stores.
Jan. 9: Insurers and the Trump administration continue their legal wrangling over cost-sharing reduction payments. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit will hear oral arguments in lawsuits involving Community Health Choice, Maine Community Health Options and Sanford Health Plan. The insurers claim the Trump administration owes them millions for failing to pay cost-sharing reduction subsidies that were intended to lower costs for low-income people who buy plans on the exchanges. Insurers overall have been successful in arguing that the Trump administration erred when it abruptly cut off the payments at the end of 2017. The government argued that Congress never appropriated the payments.