MLA's Weekly Health Care Wrap-Up

March 30, 2012

Supreme Court Dominates Week in Washington, DC

The Supreme Court’s consideration of the Affordable Care Act dominated the policy dialogue and media airwaves this week in Washington, DC. With hearings Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday the health care and legal communities were abuzz with the potential implications of various decisions. General consensus among commentators and legal scholars is that, while tempting, it is important not to read too much into the oral arguments.  Nonetheless, to help decipher the chatter, MLA Partner Bruce Brown, former clerk to Chief Justice Warren Burger, and Senior Managing Director Cindy Gillespie break things down in a 30 minute “Quick Take” session – the Supreme Court’s Consideration of the ACA: Legal Arguments, Policy Implications and Political Repercussions, which can be found here.

CMS Officially Delays Innovation Challenge Grants

Not surprisingly, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) officially announced this week that it would delay the release of Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation (CMMI) “Innovation Challenge” grant awards.  CMMI received approximately 3,000 applications for $1 billion in funding for payment and delivery reforms under the program. More information on the delay is available here

House Approves Ryan Budget

On Thursday, the House of Representatives approved Budget Chair Paul Ryan’s FY13 budget by a vote of 228-191. The budget plan is not expected to gain traction in the Senate. Meanwhile, Representatives Jim Cooper (D-TN), Steven LaTourette (R-OH), Charlie Bass (R-NH), Tom Reed (R-NY), Kurt Schrader (D-OR), and Mike Quigley (D-IL) released an alternative budget plan modeled on the Simpson-Bowles Fiscal Commission's recommendations. While this budget is unlikely to gain significant momentum, it demonstrates that past deficit reduction proposals will likely remain “at the table” throughout future tax and entitlement reform debates. More information on the Simpson-Bowles alternative budget is available here.

From the States

For full coverage of this week’s exchange activities, check out this week's State of the States - Health Insurance Exchanges here.

New York. At a press conference earlier this week, Governor Andrew Cuomo (D) was quoted saying that since “the Legislature has declined to include a health exchange in the budget, we will set it up by executive order.” He expects to issue the order this week.

Maryland. On Monday, Maryland’s House and Senate approved their respective versions of the Maryland Health Benefits Exchange Act of 2012, which sets the standards that will govern the operation of Maryland’s Exchange. The Senate passed its version of the bill, Senate Bill 238, by a 35-12 vote, while the House passed House Bill 443 by a 94-44 vote.  Differences between the House and Senate versions of the legislation will need to be reconciled in conference committee.

Texas. A new interactive tool using data from the Texas Department of State Health Services tracks the number of primary care physicians per 100,000 Texas residents. In addition, the Texas Tribune calculates the number of Medicaid providers per 1,000 people in Texas cities.  The primary care physician date is available here; the Medicaid data here.

Around Town

A new report from the Urban Institute examines how many Americans would be impacted by the individual mandate if it is upheld by the Supreme Court. The report can be found here.

New polling data from the Kaiser Family Foundation examines public opinion of the individual mandate.  The full Data Note is available here.

Booz and Co released a whitepaper this week on private exchanges and large employers. In particular,  the paper focuses on defined contribution, employers’ attitudes toward exchanges, the potential impact on the payer industry as well as possible strategies for interested companies.  The report can be found here.

A new blog post from NAISCO follows up with remaining ”Early Innovator” states’ efforts to develop IT for exchanges, checking in with New York, Oregon, New England and Maryland. The blog post can be found here.

Deloitte released a new report on mobile devices and the health care industry.  In particular, the report presents selected findings from a highly targeted survey of senior executives on the challenges and opportunities the mobile industry will face in the coming three to five years. The report can be found here.

MLA Health Care News

A new client advisory from MLA examines the Supreme Court’s decision in Mayo v. Prometheus and its likely impact on patent issues, particularly the consequences for biotechnology and pharmaceutical patent applications. The full client advisory is available here.


The House and Senate are on recess and will return on April 16. 

Tuesday, April 3

·    CMS webinar: Initiative to Reduce Avoidable Hospitalizations Among Nursing Facility Residents. Time: 2:00 – 3:00 p.m. EST; Call-In: 800-837-1935 Conference ID: 66913606.